MapR, the Hadoop and Big Data company, has big European ambitions despite a mixed economic outlook in the region.MapR recently opened a new Paris office that will focus on operations in France, Benelux and southern Europe. The move follows the company's establishment of a European headquarters late last year in London.

MapR has appointed Xavier Guerin, who served previously in executive roles at EMC, Isilon and NetApp, to lead the new Paris-based team. Aurélien Goujet, also a veteran of the same three companies, will oversee sales operations for MapR's continental operations as senior pre-sales director for southern Europe and Benelux.

MapR's expansion into this new region, and its interest in Europe more generally, reflect a broader trend among open-source VARs that has been gaining momentum recently. For example, Zarafa, an open-source groupware provider native to the continent, has been extending its operations to compete more aggressively with proprietary vendors.

And while MapR so far has established European offices only in London and Paris, its other recent moves suggest that it is eyeing central Europe as well. Back in January, it announced executive appointments for its European operations that included Zeljko Dodlek as sales director for the DACH (Germany-Austria-Switzerland) region.

What does this all mean? First and most obviously, it shows clear commitment on the part of MapR, a private company based in California, to international expansion.

But it also highlights the opportunities that exist for VARs with an open-source focus in Europe. From the education market to government to enterprises, vendors like MapR are enjoying significant success delivering value-added solutions based on open-source technology to European customers.

And finally, MapR exemplifies the rising profile of value-added Big Data solutions not just in Europe but everywhere. Hadoop and related tools remain in rapid development -- they're even newer, in many respects, than the cloud -- and enterprises are still sorting out how to deploy them most effectively. But that may change as vendors like MapR establish a more mature business model for Big Data platforms that integrates the core open-source technology with solutions that make sense in production environments.