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Microsoft Adds HBase Preview to HDInsight Big Data Cloud Service

The cloud-based Big Data service, Microsoft Azure HDInsight, now supports Apache HBase clusters.

Microsoft announced a technology preview of the Hadoop component just days after announcing HDInsight had been upgraded to the latest Hadoop release, version 2.4.

HBase is a non-relational distributed database technology running on top of the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). The NoSQL (for "not only SQL) database open source technology is similar to the Bigtable project from Google Research.

"Use Apache HBase when you need random, real-time read/write access to your Big Data," the project's site says. "This project's goal is the hosting of very large tables -- billions of rows x millions of columns -- atop clusters of commodity hardware. Apache HBase is an open source, distributed, versioned, non-relational database modeled after Google's Bigtable: A Distributed Storage System for Structured Data by Chang et al. Just as Bigtable leverages the distributed data storage provided by the Google File System, Apache HBase provides Bigtable-like capabilities on top of Hadoop and HDFS."

The columnar, low-latency database can do online transaction processing (OLTP) functions such as updates, inserts and deletes of data in Hadoop, Microsoft said in a Friday announcement. HBase uses a set of tables that contain rows and column families that developers must define ahead of time, Microsoft said, but it's flexible because new columns can be added anytime to the column families. This gives HBase more schema flexibility to adapt to changing requirements quickly.

"This preview announcement will enable customers to run HBase as a managed cluster in the cloud (as an integrated feature of Azure HDInsight)," Microsoft said. "The HBase clusters are configured to store data directly in Azure Blob storage."

The use cases allowed by this, Microsoft said, include the building of interactive Web sites based on large Azure Blob datasets. Another example: "Building services that store sensor and telemetry data from millions of endpoints in Azure Blobs (which can then be analyzed using HDInsight (Hadoop)."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

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