Microsoft's Windows Azure and Windows Server will leverage Apache Hadoop in the service of big data crunching.
Microsoft's plans for tackling big data within the
enterprise include an Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Server and
Apache Hadoop is a scalable solution for companies looking
to crunch massive amounts of data, sorting through it to find the tendencies
and patterns necessary to make better business decisions. Organizations already
using the open-source framework for production or educational purposes include
eBay, Facebook, Hulu, IBM, Twitter, and a handful of universities. Yahoo
nurtured Hadoop as a "science project" of sorts for six years before it split
off under the umbrella of an independent, venture capital-funded company called
Microsoft announced the Hadoop augmentation for Windows
Server and Windows Azure-which obviously includes a strategic partnership with
Hortonworks-at its PASS Summit 2011. "The next frontier is all about uniting the
power of the cloud with the power of data to gain insights that simply weren't
possible even just a few years ago," Microsoft corporate vice president Ted
Kummert told the audience during his opening keynote.
Microsoft plans for a community technology preview of the
Hadoop service for Windows Azure by the end of this year, followed by the CTP
for the Hadoop service for Windows Server sometime in 2012. In a release
associated with the announcement, Microsoft also pledged to "work closely with
the Hadoop community" and "propose contributions back to the Apache Software
Foundation and the Hadoop project."
"Over 80 percent of new data being generated is from
unstructured sources," Eric Baldeschwieler, CEO of Hortonworks, wrote in a
statement released by Microsoft. "We are excited to work with Microsoft to help
make Apache Hadoop a compelling platform for storing and processing data."
Microsoft used the PASS Summit 2011 to show off a "Data
Explorer" prototype for sharing and discovering business data, which will apparently
be included with the Windows Azure Marketplace. Microsoft is also planning a
set of "highly interactive" data visualization tools which leverage touch
technology. That seems an attempt to leverage upcoming releases such as Windows
8, whose user interface will offer a significant touch-based component.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.