Apache Hadoop-Based Hortonworks Sandbox Launches

Hortonworks announced its Hortonworks Sandbox, a free download of the company's Hadoop distribution with tutorials for teaching beginners to use big data technology.

Hortonworks, a leading contributor to Apache Hadoop, has announced a new offering to help enterprises quickly get the hang of working with Hadoop and other projects in the Hadoop big data ecosystem.

Presented as a free 2GB download, the new Hortonworks Sandbox is a self-contained virtual machine with Apache Hadoop preconfigured. It is essentially a personal, portable and stand-alone Hadoop environment with a set of hands-on, step-by-step tutorials that enable users to learn and explore Hadoop on their own.

Hortonworks says its new offering takes users from zero to big data in 15 minutes. In any case, it is an on-ramp for users interested in learning, evaluating or using Apache Hadoop in the enterprise. The Hortonworks Sandbox addresses the gap between people who want to learn Hadoop and the complexity of setting up a small Hadoop cluster with an integrated environment where users, whether Hadoop novices or experts, can access demos, videos and multilevel tutorials. The Hortonworks Sandbox is built using the new Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) 1.2, the company's open source platform powered by Apache Hadoop that delivers high-scale data processing in a manner that is easy for an enterprise to operate, Hortonworks officials said.

Apache Hadoop is an open-source software framework that supports data-intensive distributed applications. It supports the running of applications on large clusters of commodity hardware. Hadoop enables applications to be divided into many small fragments of work, each of which may be executed on any node in the cluster. As a key technology in the effort to wrangle big data, Hadoop enables applications to work with thousands of computation-independent computers and petabytes of data.

The Hortonworks team, comprising many of the original architects, developers and operators of Apache Hadoop, will regularly update the learning materials providing access to new content showcasing both partner solutions and increasingly sophisticated tutorials. Additionally, users can upload their own datasets to test and validate the use of Apache Hadoop within their own data architectures.

The Hortonworks Sandbox is ideal for developers who want to learn the programming interface without having to set up a cluster, the company said. Delivered as a virtual machine, no Internet connection is required once users have the Sandbox installed and the data sets ready.

"Alteryx and Hortonworks are both working to ensure the largest number of organizations get the maximum value from big data," Paul Ross, vice president of product marketing at business intelligence solutions provider Alteryx, said in a statement. "The Hortonworks Sandbox will allow our customers to quickly build and test big data analytics in an easy-to-use, enterprise-grade distribution of Apache Hadoop."

By simplifying learning and testing of Apache Hadoop, Hortonworks helps organizations evaluate the impact of Hadoop and big data analytics and how it helps the Alteryx mission to "humanize big data," said Ross.

Moreover, with the download, users have access to an environment that enables them to investigate and evaluate the features of leading Apache Hadoop projects, such as Apache Pig, Apache Hive, Apache HCatalog and Apache HBase, to explore the possibilities of the open source big data platform. The integrated learning tutorials are developed based on the direct experience of the Hortonworks training team, who create and deliver classes for students to learn to develop and administer Apache Hadoop. These tutorials are built based on the experience gained training thousands of people in the Hortonworks University Training classes.

"A lot of IT professionals need to have their first hands-on experience with Hadoop as a prelude to an evaluation or an analytics project," Philip Russom, a research director at The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI), said in a statement. "Although anyone can download Hadoop from a variety of sources, finding your way around a platform that's new to you can be time-consuming and somewhat random."

Hortonworks Sandbox provides demos, videos and step-by-step, hands-on tutorials to make learning Hadoop "faster and more effective," said Russom.