Hadoop, it seems, is everywhere these days. IBM, Oracle and Yahoo are among the big guns that have been supporting Hadoop for years. Recently, Microsoft joined the club by announcing it will integrate Hadoop into its upcoming SQL Server 2012 release and Azure platforms.
Apache Hadoop -- to give Hadoop its proper name -- is a software framework that supports data-intensive distributed applications (think Big Data). The framework, written in Java and supported by the Apache Software Foundation, enables applications to work with thousands of nodes and petabytes of data.
Microsoft's embracing of Hadoop is proof that the vendor has seen the writing on the wall about big data -- namely that it must give customers and developers the tools they need (be they proprietary or open-source) to work with all kinds of big data.
"The next frontier is all about uniting the power of the cloud with the power of data to gain insights that simply weren't possible even just a few years ago," said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Ted Kummert in a statement. "Microsoft is committed to making this possible for every organization, and it begins with SQL Server 2012."
As part of its commitment to help customers and developers process "any data, any size, anywhere," Microsoft is working with the Hadoop ecosystem, including core contributors from Hortonworks, to deliver Hadoop-based distributions for Windows Server and Windows Azure that work with industry-leading business intelligence tools.
A Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure will be available by the end of 2011, and a CTP of the Hadoop-based service for Windows Server will follow in 2012.
Microsoft said it will work closely with the Hadoop community and propose contributions back to the Apache Software Foundation and the Hadoop project.
Why is adding a fraction of the Microsoft Windows, Azure and SQL Server user bases to the Hadoop community a good thing for Apache Hadoop, asked Eric Baldeschwieler, the CEO of Hortonworks in a recent blog post.
"Microsoft technology is used broadly across enterprises today. Ultimately, open source is all about community building. A growing user community feeds a virtuous circle. More users means more visibility for the project... More users mean more folks who will ultimately become contributors or committers. This makes the code evolve more quickly, which allows it to satisfy more use cases and hence attract more users, which further drives the project forward."