Feeds

Hadoop: A Linux even Microsoft likes

Big Data brings people together

High performance access to file storage

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.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.