Microsoft goes Big Data with new Hadoop Azure service

The Windows Azure HDInsight service will offer a stock copy of the Hortonworks Data Platform Hadoop distribution

In much the same way that Microsoft brought spreadsheet crunching to the business world through its now-ubiquitous Excel, the company is hoping to make a similar impact with big data analysis with its new Windows Azure HDInsight service.

"I think what we've always done well as a company is take hard technology problems and simplify them. So we're making Hadoop simple, and bringing it to everyone," said Eron Kelly, Microsoft general manager for the data platform group.

Offered on Windows Azure as a PaaS (platform as a service), Windows Azure HDInsight provides a copy of the Apache Hadoop data processing platform and associated tools. HDInsight will use the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP), which is the flagship Hadoop distribution offered by Hortonworks.

Microsoft is not the first to offer Hadoop as a cloud service. Amazon Web Services offers Hadoop and Rackspace plans to offer the HDP as a service soon. IBM's SoftLayer hosting service also announced this week that it will offer the ability quickly spin-up copies of Cloudera's Hadoop distribution across multiple bare-metal servers.

But Microsoft is hoping to carve out a competitive advantage in this growing space by simplifying the process of deploying and then using Hadoop.

For instance, the service works well with Microsoft data analysis tools. Users of the Excel spreadsheet can deploy a feature of the spreadsheet, called power BI, to ingest, then analyze and visualize data delivered by Hadoop MapReduce.

Microsoft first announced plans for this service in 2011. Originally, the company intended to develop its own version of Hadoop, along with Hortonworks, which would be configured to run on Windows Server.

"We realized pretty quickly there would be a level of redundancy between what Hortonworks would provide and what we were going to provide. So we decided to align on one core offering, HDP on Windows," Kelly said. Microsoft contributed over 16,000 lines of code to Apache Hadoop, an open source project, and related software.

Windows Azure HDInsight will run a stock version of HDP, allowing users to seamlessly move their workloads between Azure and other non-Azure HDP deployments, Kelly said. After Hortonworks releases its next version of HDP, version 2.0 is due next month, Azure's version of HDP will be automatically upgraded.

The company has actually been running Windows Azure HDInsight in full production mode, at least for select clients, for a couple of months, Kelly said.

The city of Barcelona has used the service to analyze traffic patterns, garbage collection and data about other municipal duties, hoping the data will be useful in making more informed spending decisions.

A group of researchers at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University are using the service to run DNA sequencing tools.

Quentin Clark, Microsoft corporate vice president of the data platform group, will speak more about Windows Azure HDInsight at O'Reilly's Strata and Hadoop World conference, this week in New York.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftManaged Servicescloud computinginternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?