Where's Hadoop for Microsoft's Windows Server?

Where's Hadoop for Microsoft's Windows Server?

Summary: Microsoft and Hortonworks' implementation of the Hadoop big-data framework for Azure is in the midst of testing. But where's the promised Windows Server implementation?

TOPICS: Microsoft

As we head into June, the last month of Redmond's fiscal 2012, it's a good time to check in on expected Microsoft's products  and how they're progressing (or not).

One of those promised deliverables about which Microsoft has gone quiet is Hadoop on Windows Server. But I'm thinking by mid-June -- say, by the time TechEd North America and/or the 2012 Hadoop Summit -- there could be new news from the Softies about the company's on-premises big data offering.

For those without elephantine memories, here's a quick refresher on Microsoft's Hadoop plans.

In the fall of 2011, Microsoft announced it was partnering with Hortonworks to create both a Windows Azure and Windows Server implementations of the Hadoop big data framework. At that time, Microsoft officials committed to providing a Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of the Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure before the end of calendar 2011 and a CTP of the Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Server some time in 2012. A month after announcing the Hortonworks partnership, Microsoft dropped plans to make its own big data alternative, codenamed Dryad.

In late December 2011, Microsoft posted a video on its Channel 9 site that provided updated information about the company's Hadoop plans. According to that video, which Microsoft subsequently pulled from Channel 9, the company planned to make Hadoop on Windows Azure generally available in March 2012, and Hadoop for Windows Server generally available in June 2012.

A roadmap with which Microsoft provided some of its partners confirmed those availability dates. See below for a timeline snippet from that roadmap.

(click on graphic above to enlarge)

In March 2012, Microsoft officials said they planned to make available a second CTP for Hadoop for Windows Azure. They declined to comment on the planned final release date for Hadoop for Azure or to provide an update on when testers might see Hadoop for Windows Server. However, Microsoft has done some internal dogfooding of Hadoop for Windows Server, as Microsoft Chief Information Officer Tony Scott told ActiveWin in a recent interview.

The Hadoop on Azure and Windows Server work both go by the codename "Isotope." Isotope refers not just to the core distributions, but also the related analytics and tools which surround them. It's these tie-ins to Microsoft's analytics products (like SQL Server Analysis Services, PowerPivot and Excel) that make Microsoft's Hadoop work more potentially interesting to current Microsoft customers.

Another interesting Microsoft tie-in: Hadoop on Windows Server (referred to in the no-longer-available Channel 9 video as the “enterprise” version of the Microsoft-Hortonworks project) is/was the planned integration of the Hadoop File System with Active Directory, giving users global single sign-on for not just their e-mail, but also for analytics. As Microsoft watchers know, the identity and access management team in Redmond has been working on providing symmetry between Microsoft's on-premises Active Directory and its cloud-based complement, known as Windows Azure Active Directory.

As I noted at the outset, I'm thinking June could be when we hear more on Hadoop for Windows Server. Anyone testing the Azure version of Hadoop have any additional info or insights to share on this one?

Topic: Microsoft


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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  • Tools vs. a new home-bred version..

    Were I in Microsoft's shoes, I would probably throw more resources into building the analytical tools to work against Hadoop data than I would trying to build a Windows-centric version of the platform itself. I'm not sure that a Windows-based version of Hadoop would offer anything more than a Linux-based version.

    My bet, given the new tools being offered with SQL 2012, Analysis Services, PowerView/PowerPivot and the like, this is exactly what Microsoft have done. It is these tools that Microsoft are most likely going to be able to profit from, and they'd be able to tool these to work with Hadoop on any platform, not just Windows.

    Getting the data out and making it useful is far more lucrative than getting the data in or even hosting the data somehow. Microsoft have already proven that they are really [i]really[/i] good at this.
  • Where's Hadoop for Microsoft's Windows Server?

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  • Where's Hadoop for Azure?

    I think the bigger story is how much trouble they're having stabilizing Hadoop on Azure. Take one look at the CTP mailing list and you'll see people are having issues just firing up a cluster. Plus, the .Net integration is still a long way off. Read through the most recent thread about Daytona support and you'll get a sense for just how confused developers are with regards to .Net support.

    (As a side note, Yahoo Groups, where they're hosting the mailing list http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/HadoopOnAzureCTP/, is truly awful. I can't help but think that alone is hurting the feedback cycle.)

    I'd expect a Hadoop on Azure CTP update, but not release, at Hadoop Summit/TechEd. Then in the fall at Hadoop World there'll be full support for Azure. Hadoop on Windows will likely be a 2013 release. That would let Microsoft ship a Hadoop 2.0 package, which just went alpha on the Apache branch and received reference in this thread http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/HadoopOnAzureCTP/message/476

    @Daftkey interesting point. I can't help but think those that are interested in Hadoop are just going to run Linux instances, and staunch Windows guys would never touch it anyways.
    • Shifted Strategy Perhaps?

      It seems like a lot of early work has been on duct taping Microsoft services into working with Hadoop in various ways through connectors. The past few months Microsoft seems to have shifted toward re-implementing services like SQL Server directly on top of Hadoop. As well, Microsoft is sending engineers out into the field to large customer implementations to work through the stability issues on-site. One in particular is a very large Linux-based Hadoop cluster with Windows servers as members.