Bigger Data Comes to Windows

The Hortonworks Data Platform for Windows works with Microsoft's Windows Azure HDInsight Service.

The next step in integrating Windows and big data was taken today, continuing Microsoft's push into expanded business intelligence capabilities.

Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) for Windows was commercially released today, offering another way to run Apache Hadoop "big data" workloads.

The product previously was at the beta stage back in February. While many Apache Hadoop workloads run on Linux servers, HDP for Windows offers native support for both Linux servers and Windows Server, with "a common user experience," according to Hortonworks' announcement. Moreover, Hortonworks claims that its platform is 100 percent open source, which isn't the case with some Hadoop implementations.

Microsoft collaborated with Hortonworks on the HDP for Windows product. Hadoop is an Apache open source project, largely fostered by Yahoo, with some of the Yahoo Hadoop team members later joining Hortonworks. So Microsoft's collaboration with Hortonworks will add support for organizations running Hadoop in mixed computing environments.

The collaboration also paves the way for Microsoft's big data business intelligence tools. Microsoft PowerPivot for Excel and Power View for SharePoint Services can both be used to display Hadoop query results. Hadoop is an open source framework for MapReduce, which supports scale-out data processing across clusters using piles of unstructured and structured data, allowing ad hoc queries to be run. So, in theory, Microsoft will make it easier to graph such data and gain insights. Microsoft worked with the Apache Software Foundation on the open database connectivity driver for Hive, Hadoop's data warehouse system, to build support for its business intelligence tools.

There's also System Center integration effort with Apache Ambari, which enables System Center to manage Hadoop clusters alongside other computing assets. The Web-based Ambari tool is used to install, monitor and manage Apache Hadoop clusters.

Microsoft is also touting the ability of HDP for Windows to work with its own Windows Azure HDInsight Service. Supposedly, users of HDP for Windows can "migrate seamlessly" to Microsoft's cloud-based Windows Azure Hadoop implementation. Microsoft also has its own Hadoop implementation for Windows, which is called "Microsoft HDInsight Server for Windows."

Microsoft's Windows Azure HDInsight Service is currently at beta. Possibly, it could be released this summer, according to a recent talk by expert Andrew Brust. He noted that Microsoft still needs to do some work with HDInsight to get the tooling up to speed for enterprise use.

Hortonworks' HDP for Windows 1.1 product can be downloaded at this page. It contains Hadoop components such as Pig, Hive and Sqoop, among others. HDP for Windows 1.1 runs on Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2012.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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