Microsoft rolls out 'Daytona' MapReduce runtime for Windows Azure

Microsoft rolls out 'Daytona' MapReduce runtime for Windows Azure

Summary: Microsoft is making available for download the first release a new piece of cloud analytics technology developed by its eXtreme Computing Group that is known as Project Daytona.

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TOPICS: Microsoft, Windows
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Microsoft is making available for download the first release a new piece of cloud analytics technology developed by its eXtreme Computing Group that is known as Project Daytona.

Microsoft describes Daytona as "an iterative MapReduce runtime for Windows Azure" that is meant to support data analytics and machine-learning algorithms which can scale to hundreds of server cores for analyzing distributed data. The 1.0 "technical preview" download is under a non-commercial-use license.

A brief note on the Microsoft Research site describes Daytona as follows:

"Using Daytona, a user can submit a model, such as a data-analytics or machine-learning algorithm, written as a map-and-reduce function to the Daytona service for execution on Windows Azure. The Daytona runtime will coordinate the execution of the map-and-reduce tasks that implement the algorithm across multiple Azure virtual machines."

Here's part of a poster from Microsoft Research's TechFest 2011 showcase that mentions Daytona:

(click on the image above to enlarge)

According to the poster, the MapReduce-Daytona combination make use of the compute and storage services built into Azure.

MapReduce is Google's framework/programming model for large data sets distributed across clusters of computers. It is somewhat akin to Microsoft's Dryad, which is now known by its official name of LINQ to HPC. LINQ to HPC enables developers to write data-intensive apps using Visual Studio and the LINQ programming model and to deploy those apps to clusters running HPC Server 2008 R2. Microsoft released Beta 2 of LINQ to HPC on July 12. Microsoft officials had said that the company planned to roll LINQ to HPC into SP2 of Windows HPC Server 2008 R2, but seemingly decided against doing so.

Microsoft officials see LINQ to HPC as a stepping stone toward Microsoft's long-range goal of turning the cloud into a supercomputer.

Speaking of Microsoft's eXtreme Computing Group (the developers behind Daytona), Dan Reed is no longer the Corporate Vice President in charge of that organization. Reed's new title is Corporate Vice President, Technology Policy Group. I've asked Microsoft who is replacing Reed, but have yet to hear back.

Update: Surajit Chaudhuri is Managing Director of the eXtreme Computing Group now, reporting to Research chief Rick Rashid

More Updates (July 18): Now that Microsoft has officially launched the Daytona tech preview, Roger Barga, an architect with the eXtreme Computing Group's cloud futures unit, has provided me with a few additional details.

Microsoft Research is downplaying the MapReduce elements of Daytona. The official position is Daytona  is technology meant to demonstrate what next-generation analytics in the cloud," and which isn't all about Google's MapReduce.While data-analytics and machine-learning is what MapReduce is optimized for, the original MapReduce technology dates back to the 60s and 70s, Barga said, before iteration and caching the cloud existed.

The team opted to use MapReduce instead of Dryad/LINQ to HPC in order to save time. If they had gone with Dryad, they would have had to spend a lot of cycles decoupling it from SQL Server, Windows HPC Server, etc., Barga said. He also noted that Microsoft may end up delivering Daytona under a non-commercial open-source license (if that's what the academic community wants), and using MapReduce rather than Dryad would make it "easier to flip the bits" to open source.

Microsoft expects to take its Daytona learnings back inside the company and apply them to Dryad and possibly also Cosmos, Barga said. Cosmos is petabyte-scale store and computation platform, plus the ecosystem of tools and libraries, upon which Microsoft's Bing search engine is built. Some of the Azure storage elements have taken their cues from Cosmos, as well.

Topics: Microsoft, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Google Patents

    Google has patents for Map/Reduce, but has licensed it free of charge to open source projects. Will be interesting to see whether M$ got a license from Google before implementing this, or whether Google whacks them with a lawsuit for using their technology without authorization. If M$ is going to go after Android, I'd say turnabout is fair play -- make 'em pay through the nose, or shut it down.
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      @roncemer > Mary Jo, I just opened an email account through facebook.com inorder to access their current version of messaging. This seems very timely with the Skype tie with Microsoft and the Google+ controvercy. Do you think Microsoft is throwing their full weight behind Facebook; supporting their recent upgrades and even lawsuits with Google to have it all apply toward legal immunity? Just like their conditions of involvement purchasing Novel's patents. Slick....oh, I want to retract from my history speculation of Microsoft's infrastucture to weaken after Q'2 2013. What I meant to say is their envolvement may only be with Azure and technical upkeep of the cloud clients. They are a platform development and deployment company at their finest. Always shaking off the want-na-be's and making everything Microsoft in the end game; (competitive). After all they have a piece of all the guest at the party.
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    • RE: Microsoft rolls out 'Daytona' MapReduce runtime for Windows Azure

      Actually here is what's really going to happen: Daytona will remain under a non commercial license. No one will sue anyone over this. As clouds facilitate commercialization, fewer and fewer people will be able to relate to emotional outbursts like this over technology. @roncemer will eventually have to get some anger management counseling.
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