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Microsoft pops Hadoop into SQL Server and Azure

Denali becomes SQL Server 2012, out by next summer

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PASS Summit Microsoft has announced that it will integrate Hadoop into its forthcoming SQL Server 2012 release and Azure platforms, and has committed to full compatibility with the Apache code base.

The news was announced in the opening keynote of Redmond’s PASS Summit 2011 in Seattle on Wednesday. The first technology preview of the Hadoop distribution will be in Azure by Christmas, and a similar system will be in place on SQL Server by 2012.

“We are committing to compatibility with the Apache code base,” Doug Leland, general manager of product management for SQL Server, told The Register. “We’re also making a commitment to work closely with the Hadoop community on this; we want to make sure the code base of Apache stays compatible with what we will be offering as a service.”

Redmond has signed a strategic partnership with Hortonworks to develop the integration, and as the first part of this partnership, Microsoft has posted bidirectional Hadoop Connectors for its SQL Server 2008 R2 software for download by users. The latest version of SQL, formerly codenamed Denali, has now been officially confirmed as SQL Server 2012, and will be released by the middle of next year.

The new version of SQL has had a major upgrade, Leland said, with a redesigned interface that allowed for touch control, and Power View, a new data visualization tool formerly code-named Project Crescent. This code will also be open to a wider display of devices, with Leland promising that it will run on an iPad, among other things.

During the summit, the company will also demonstrate an application, codenamed Data Explorer, that is designed to share information sets within the Azure Marketplace, which is now operating in 26 countries.

In the longer term, Microsoft will also use data from other business intelligence software, such as Excel, PowerPivot, and the Power View application, to help add information to SQL Server and Hadoop. The end goal is “any data, any size, anywhere,” Leland said.

Dan Vesset, program vice president of IDC's Business Analytics research unit, told The Register that the move to Hadoop is a smart one for Microsoft, and necessary if it is going to compete against other companies like IBM and Oracle in this sector.

“So many companies are using Hadoop these days that’s it’s essential that companies in the space show they can handle it,” he said. “With Hadoop integration increasingly important, this will allow Microsoft to carry on bidding for contracts against competitors.” ®

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