Red Hat and Hortonworks, provider of one of the most popular Apache Hadoop distributions, expanded their existing strategic alliance on Monday as part of an effort to make it easier than ever to bring Hadoop into the enterprise in production environments.

Under the expanded alliance, the partners will integrate their product lines and enable joint go-to-market initiatives and seamless collaborative customer support. Additionally, the partners announced the availability of a beta of a Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) plug-in for Red Hat Storage that allows Hortonworks' Hadoop distribution to run natively on top of Red Hat's storage offering.

"At the rapid rate that enterprises expand their Hadoop requirements - due to the business consistently identifying new use cases and more internal stakeholders - the Red Hat and Hortonworks strategic alliance provides a seamless approach to enabling the next generation of data-driven applications," says Shaun Connolly, vice president of corporate strategy at Hortonworks.

"Our mutual customers complement both their Hadoop strategy and commitment to community-driven open source innovation," Connolly says.

An Open Road to Big Data

By tightly integrating HDP with open hybrid cloud technologies - including Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform, OpenJDK, Red Hat JBoss Middleware and Red Hat Storage - the two partners aim to deliver open hybrid cloud infrastructure solutions that will enable their customers to deploy next-generation big data applications.

[Related: Hortonworks Brings Hadoop 2.0 to Windows]

The immediate initiatives of the expanded alliance include the following:

[Related: Red Hat, Hortonworks Prep Openstack for Hadoop]

In addition to building seamless integration across their infrastructure solutions to allow customers to store data in one place and analyze it at scale, the expanded strategic alliance also provides great customer support collaboration between the two partners.

Whether a customer reaches out to Red Hat or Hortonworks for support, the customer support teams will be able to seamlessly work together to identify and resolve problems.

"Data - specifically data running processed with Hadoop - is the killer application for the open hybrid cloud," says Ranga Rangachari, vice president of Storage and Big Data at Red Hat.

"Enterprises are looking to IT solution providers to help with a dramatic reduction in time-to-results for their big data projects," Rangachari says. "Red Hat's strategic alliance with Hortonworks is focused on helping customers with efficiency and agility as they embark on data projects."

Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Read more about big data in CIO's Big Data Drilldown.