Intel has announced that they will be investing $740 million into the Big Data startup, Cloudera, for 18% of the company. This investment is not only an attempt to make money through investments but also to strengthen Intel’s partnership with the company. Cloudera is looking to be another company in the Big Data space with their own suite of software and services centered around Apache Hadoop. As a result of this announcement, Intel will actually stop developing their own version of Hadoop and will instead utilize Cloudera’s instead. Intel’s Brian Krzanich actually spoke on the topic of the investment in a short video posted on Cloudera’s site.

This will significantly improve the valuation of Cloudera, putting it at $4.1 billion, making it one of the most valued startups in the tech industry now. Then again, valuation nowadays is absolutely ludicrous when you take into account acquisitions like Facebook’s $19 billion WhatsApp acquisition. Clearly the amount of traction that Big Data is having with most major corporations is undeniable, and there’s a lot of room for government and other applications that aren’t already being utilized. The truth is that Big Data is just another trend in the enterprise scene and we will probably see it continue to be the trend going into 2014 and beyond as the amount of data being fed into companies’ servers exponentially increases.

So, naturally, a company that can offer an alternative way to managing and analyzing that data is going to be valuable. The real question will be whether Intel’s partnership with Cloudera will help the company become one of the leaders in Big Data and as a result help Intel realize their investment. It is clear that Intel wants to make sure that their are enabling as much performance out of their hardware as possible and if they can’t sell bundled software with it, they may as well make sure their hardware is the hardware of choice.

But there is no denying that Cloudera is going to be fighting an uphill battle against the biggest titans of enterprise software in IBM, HP, EMC and SAP among many others. It will be an interesting space to follow, but having Intel as an investor and partner should prove beneficial for Cloudera.