Feeds

Hadoop: A Linux even Microsoft likes

Big Data brings people together

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

Open... and Shut There was a time when Microsoft despised open source, because open source essentially meant "Linux," and Linux was a serious threat to Microsoft's operating system business.

While that threat remains, open source has become such a big tent that Microsoft increasingly feels at home with a broad array of open-source projects. Nowhere is this truer than in its announced support for Hadoop, the open-source software framework that dominates the Big Data movement.

In fact, given the importance of digesting massive mountains of unstructured data, Microsoft may well become as ardent an admirer of Hadoop and open source as it once was a warrior against Linux and open source.

How times change.

There was a time that open source lagged proprietary software in just about every way, from quality to UIs to documentation. But those days are long gone. IT consumerisation is being driven by open source, as Accenture argues, while much of the technology industry's most innovative work is happening within open-source communities, not proprietary software development teams.

Hadoop is the poster child for open-source innovation. Indeed, as Cisco's James Urquhart speculates: "Hadoop [is] the first instance of enterprise software where there [was] no proprietary incumbent before open source success." While there may be others, it's hard to think of a success of similar scale.

Hadoop stands alone.

Or not. In addition to Microsoft, Oracle and a number of others have rallied around the Hadoop flag. In fact, it's hard to think of any serious enterprise or consumer technology company that has not pronounced its support for Hadoop. Hadoop, in this way, is the new Linux.

Except this time even Microsoft has joined the party. Microsoft has been an active participant in a number of open-source projects for years, of course. For me, its support for jQuery was the earliest, most significant indication that open source had gone mainstream at Microsoft. There have been other indications, including Microsoft's support for Drupal, its contribution of Linux drivers, its CodePlex open-source project hosting site, not to mention its support for OpenStack (though this was accomplished through a third party, as Wired's recently recruited Cade Metz notes).

Even considering all this open source love, however, Microsoft's support for Hadoop feels like an inflection point. For me, it's the first time that Microsoft has sat at the table with serious competitors like IBM and Oracle and collaborated in a big way. Microsoft never could do the same with Linux, because Linux is a direct substitute for its Windows desktop and server businesses. But Hadoop is a significant complement to Microsoft's SQL Server and Azure products.

Hadoop seems to be the industry's common answer to the world's Big Data question. And this time, even Microsoft agrees. ®

Matt Asay is senior vice president of business development at Strobe, a startup that offers an open source framework for building mobile apps. He was formerly chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfresco's general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open...and Shut, appears twice a week on The Register.

Reducing security risks from open source software

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.