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LINQing .NET and Hadoop

A new, free tool from JNBridge connects .NET developers with HBase, the database for Hadoop.

As Big Data becomes more critical, the tools that connect the data to various development environments take on increasing importance.

For .NET developers, gaps continue to exist, but they're getting filled more quickly than ever, making interoperability an issue that can almost be taken for granted.

Take, for example, JNBridge, the Boulder, Colo.-based maker of tools that connect Java and .NET Framework-based components and apps. Last week, it released another in its evolving series of free interoperability kits. The latest "lab" demonstrates how to build .NET-based LINQ providers for HBase, which "expands the possibilities by enabling .NET-based front-ends to access HBase."

HBase is a Java-based, open source, distributed, scalable database for Big Data used by Apache Hadoop, the popular open-source platform for data-intensive distributed computing. LINQ (Language Integrated Query) is Microsoft's .NET Framework component that adds native data querying capabilities to .NET languages (C#, VB, etc.).

HBase and Hadoop are now standard tools for accessing Big Data. But HBase can be accessed only through Java client libraries, and there's no support front-end data query through languages like LINQ. Developers working with Hadoop end up creating single-platform solutions -- which is a problem in the real world of the heterogeneous enterprise, explained JNBridge CTO Wayne Citrin.

"Considering that a lot of analysis and data visualization in the real world is done on things like Microsoft Excel," he told ADTmag, "wouldn't it be nice if you could use LINQ as an abstract layer and provide a .NET client so that .NET becomes a first-class citizen in the Hadoop world?"

The new kit offers two new ways to create queries in .NET-based clients: simple, straightforward LINQ providers for accessing HBase; and even more efficient (5 to 6 times faster, Citrin says) LINQ providers for HBase that integrate MapReduce into the queries.

"Developers using these LINQ providers in their code don't need to know anything about HBase and Hadoop," Citrin explained. "They can write a LINQ query, and it'll just work. Nothing else currently out there does this."

The company is aiming the interoperability kits at developers looking for new ways of connecting disparate technologies. The "some assembly required" kits are not yet full-blown products or features. They're scenarios that demonstrate the kinds of use cases possible with the company's out-of-the-box products, such as JNBridge Pro. They include pointers to documentation and links to source code, and users are encouraged to enhance them. This is the third kit offered by the company. The first, released in March, was an SSH Adapter for Microsoft's BizTalk Server, which was designed to enable the secure access and manipulation of files over the network. The second, released in May, demonstrated how to build and use .NET-based MapReducers with Hadoop.

"Microsoft has left a gap here, and we're filling it," Citrin said. "There's really nothing else out there like this."

The company's flagship product, JNBridgePro, is a general purpose Java/.NET interoperability tool designed to bridge anything Java to .NET, and vice versa, allowing developers to access the entire API from either platform. Last year the company stepped into the cloud with JNBridgePro 6.0.

The JNBridge Labs are free and available for download from the company's Web site here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of Converge360.com sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at [email protected].


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