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Microsoft mixes Hortonworks Hadoop with Windows and Azure

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Hadoop World After a year of beta testing, Microsoft is rolling out the first preview editions of its Apache Hadoop integration for Windows Server and Azure in a marriage of open source and commercial code.

"This lowers the bar in terms of what it takes to set up and manage Hadoop in a Windows and Azure environment," Doug Leland, general manager of product management for SQL Server, told The Register. "It's about empowering analysts to use Excel and Power View to get insights out of a big data solution."

Both free previews use the Hortonworks Data Platform 1.1 platform, released in September, are dubbed Windows Azure HDInsight Service and Microsoft HDInsight Server for Windows. The first previews have been shown off at the Hadoop World show in New York on Wednesday and are open for download.

The new code allows analysts to grab data using Excel via a Hive add-on, as well as on Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, PowerPivot, and Power View. Microsoft System Center owners can manage their Hadoop cluster and Redmond is promising that Azure users can have a system up and running in 10 minutes.

"Are we behind Hadoop? Absolutely," Leland said. "It's an incredibly important set of technologies for doing large scale distributed data processing. We're really investing in this partnership, in our view it's very important."

It has only been a year since Microsoft and Hortonworks announced they were getting together, although Redmond spent five years developing a Hadoop-like system codenamed Dryad before throwing in the towel and doing a deal with the open-source startup. Since then Redmond has been working well with the open source community, John Kreisa, vice president of marketing for Hortonworks, tells El Reg.

"We're very vocal about committing everything back to the community," he said. "It's a great relationship with Microsoft that we have now and through joint engineering efforts there are no technical problems that the engineers haven't been able to solve."

Both companies are expecting the code to open up some cross-cultural meetings of developers. Kreisa said that the Microsoft developer tools were fully integrated with the system. Coders can build algorithms in C++, C#, Python, Ruby, and Pearl through Hadoop streaming and the Azure Marketplace is going to be hosting a lot of new apps if Microsoft's hopes are realized.

Marissa Mayer, fresh from her debut first quarter results earlier this week, will also be smiling at the news. Yahoo! owns a large chunk of Hortonworks and the value of that share will be yet another way to keep shareholders happy as she reorganizes the company. ®

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