Microsoft's Azure Cloud Welcomes Big Data With HDInsight
By bringing an end to a months-long preview period, Microsoft Windows Azure officially rolls out the welcome mat for big data workloads.Microsoft announced that HDInsight, its cloud-based distribution of Hadoop, is now generally available after spending over half a year in preview. Quentin Clark, vice president of Microsoft's Data Platform Group, stated in an Oct. 28 blog post that reaching this stage "is an important milestone for Microsoft, as it's part of our broader strategy to bring big data to a billion people." Describing Hadoop as the "cornerstone of how we will realize value from big data," Clark said that his company "engineered HDInsight as 100 percent Apache Hadoop offered as an Azure cloud service." The response "has been tremendous," he added. Hadoop is an open-source batch-processing software foundation that has emerged as the dominant big data analytics platform. Its popularity is owed, in part, to its SQL-friendly hooks, its enablement of real-time interactive analytics, an expanding ecosystem of products and a growing number of big-name supporters. Hadoop can be found toiling away in the data centers that power Amazon Web Services, Apple, Facebook, Netflix and Twitter. On Feb. 26, chipmaker Intel announced a Hadoop distribution (its third) that leverages the company's expertise in processors, on-chip security and solid-state drives (SSDs).
"Microsoft recognizes Hadoop as a standard and is investing to ensure that it's an integral part of our enterprise offerings," said Clark. In collaboration with Hortonworks, an enterprise Apache Hadoop specialist and solutions provider, the company plans to issue an HDInsight update that includes support for Hadoop 2.0, he informed.