Yesterday Microsoft and Hortonworks announced new Microsoft contributions to the Hadoop community which will allow for greater integration with the Windows environment, as well as a set of new collaborations providing deeper data connections and integration with Excel for developers and users alike. The announcement from Hortonworks related to Hadoop on the Microsoft Platform (both Windows and Azure) is really exciting news.

At BlueMetal, we have created solutions based on traditional Hadoop distributions using both Hbase and Hive. In order to take advantage of the Microsoft Business Intelligence stack (PowerPivot, Analysis Services, SharePoint PerformancePoint, and PowerView); we had to move the data from Hadoop to a relational platform (using tools like Sqoop) so that we could access the data interactively via ODBC. We are super excited about the Microsoft contributions talked about in this announcement, in particular the Hive ODBC connector, which provides direct access to the cluster, eliminating the need to stage data.

One of the key tenants of the Microsoft Business Intelligence Platform (as well as the rest of the BI market) over the last several years has been “Self-service Business Intelligence”. To us, this means access and availability of data (typically massive amounts of data). Visualization is still extremely important, but if the data is not accessible and available, then it is visualization is useless.

Microsoft’s adoption of the Hadoop ecosystem and their partnership with Hortonworks achieves some very important goals. First, it strengthens Microsoft’s commitment to delivering an extensible Self-Service Business Intelligence Platform. Second, it moves Microsoft front and center into the enterprise “Big Data” space, both on-premise and in the cloud (Azure). Third, it re-establishes Microsoft’s participation in the Open Source community. Finally, it opens up the Hadoop ecosystem to the armies of developers who are accustomed to the rich features and robust development environments within .Net.

At BlueMetal, we have been involved in the early adopter program for Hadoop on Azure with the Microsoft team, and in addition to this technical adoption we have also established our partner relationship with Hortonworks. This announcement is a tipping point for Big Data, and our lineage as Microsoft .NET architects (many of us are former MSFT’ers ourselves) along with our world-class expertise in Hadoop will enable us to serve the customer community in a really compelling fashion.

We are extremely excited about the continued technology and market collaboration with Microsoft and Hortonworks, and are eagerly anticipating the release of Hadoop on the Microsoft platform!