Microsoft Launches Hortonworks Hadoop Service On Windows Azure Cloud


Microsoft earlier this week said Windows Azure HDInsight, its cloud-based Hadoop service developed in partnership with Hortonworks, is now generally available after spending the last several months in public preview mode.

Microsoft and Hortonworks formed a partnership in 2011 to bring Hadoop to Windows Server. In May, Hortonworks launched its Hortonworks Data Platform for Windows, which lets users run Hadoop-based applications natively on either Windows or Linux.

Windows Azure HDInsight is the latest fruit of the Microsoft-Hortonworks partnership. In a Monday blog post, Quentin Clark, corporate vice president of the Data Platform Group at Microsoft, said the service "combines the best of Hadoop open source technology with the security, elasticity and manageability that enterprises require."

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Microsoft designed Windows Azure HDInsight to work with Excel and Power BI, its cloud-based business intelligence service that is part of Office 365. The service supports .NET, Java and several other development languages, Clark said in the blog post.

Alan "Skip" Gould, president and CEO of BrightPlanIT, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based Microsoft partner, does a significant amount of business intelligence work and says Windows Azure HDInsight is a logical way for Microsoft to take its analytics capabilities to the next level.

"We're working with many clients that are accumulating huge data sets and looking to get value from it," Gould said in an interview. "If you have a data set and you're not sure how fast it's going to grow, Azure is a great place to put it."

Business intelligence and big data are hot topics with clients at the moment, and Azure is expanding the scope of the work many of them are doing, Matt Scherocman, president of Interlink Cloud Advisors, a Cincinnati-based Microsoft partner, told CRN.

"Our clients are using the Azure platform to provision enterprise grade architecture in less than 15 minutes. Now they can get access to Hadoop based services in a similar manner," Scherocman said in an email.

Aamir Shah, Senior Microsoft Cloud Business Manager at En Pointe Technologies, told CRN the speed of Azure HDInsight will set Microsoft apart from big data competitors.

"Soon we'll be able to take the risk out of time sensitive strategic decisions, and instead turn to data that was analyzed in just a matter of hours to make that critical business recommendation," Shah said in an email.

Hortonworks next month will roll out version 2.0 of its Hortonworks Data Platform For Windows Server that's based on Hadoop version 2. Microsoft plans to support Hadoop v2 in a future update to Windows Azure HDInsight, according to Clark.

"Microsoft recognizes Hadoop as a standard and is investing to ensure that it's an integral part of our enterprise offerings," Clark said in the blog post.

PUBLISHED OCT. 30, 2013

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