Microsoft Outlines Big Data Strategy on Azure

Mike Vizard
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With the growing interest in all things Big Data and Hadoop, the way data is stored and processed in the enterprise is rapidly evolving. Today Microsoft extended its Big Data reach in the cloud by adding support for real-time analytics running on an instance of the Hortonworks distribution of Hadoop that Microsoft makes available on the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Eron Kelly, general manager for the Microsoft Data Platform, says that with the addition of support for Apache Storm, an open source processing engine that runs on top of Hortonworks, the types of analytics applications that can be run on Microsoft Azure are expanding. In fact, Kelly says that as adoption of Hadoop continues to expand, IT organizations will be leveraging Hadoop both as a “data lake” that feeds data to other platforms and as a “hub” where analytics applications actually run.

As part of that strategy, Microsoft announced today that version 2.2 of the Hortonworks Data Platform will be generally available on Azure next month and that Hortonworks is now providing support for hybrid Hadoop data clusters that run both on premise and the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Kelly says the Microsoft PolyBase technology that Microsoft developed to extend SQL queries across both Hadoop and relational databases, along with the Apache Falcon project being led by Hortonworks for managing data pipelines, will ultimately become two of the major unifying components of the overall Microsoft data management strategy.

In the meantime, it’s clear that Microsoft’s data management ambitions now extend well beyond its homegrown data management platforms. In fact, while Hortonworks is clearly Microsoft’s preferred Hadoop partner, in a world where organizations bring their own bits to the cloud, no can be sure how many different types of Hadoop distributions might actually be running on the Microsoft Azure cloud. But regardless of where those distributions are running or happen to be from, Kelly says that Hadoop in all its forms is now a core part of the Microsoft data management firmament.

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