Microsoft made available its first public preview of its Hadoop on Windows Azure service, known as HDInsight Service, on March 18.
To date, Microsoft has made three private previews of the HDInsight Service on Azure available to select testers. (I originally believed last October's preview to be a public one, but was told by company's officials that, in fact, today's deliverable is the first public preview.)
Microsoft, along with partner Hortonworks, announced plans to bring the Hadoop big-data framework to Windows Server and Windows Azure in the fall of 2011. Microsoft made a first public preview of its Hadoop on Windows Server product (known officially as HDInsight Server for Windows) available in October 2012.
Originally, there seemingly was an aggressive timetable to deliver the final versions of both Hadoop on Windows Azure (March 2012) and Hadoop on Windows Server (summer 2012). Since that time, Microsoft officials have gone quiet as to the new planned final delivery dates. (I've heard a rumor that the non-test/final build of HDInsight on Azure might be out as of summer 2013.)
In a post to his blog on March 18, Corporate Vice President Scott Guthrie announced the public preview, noting that "HDInsight provides everything you need to quickly deploy, manage and use Hadoop clusters running on Windows Azure." Those interested can request access to the preview and then create an HDInsight Cluster within the Azure Management Portal, he said.
Hortonworks recently announced availability of a beta of its own Hadoop on Windows Server offering, known as Hadoop Data Platform (HDP) for Windows. Hortonworks officials have said HDP for Winows is the foundation for the coming Microsoft HDInsight products. HDP for Windows is due out in final form in the second quarter of 2013, Hortonworks officials said.
Guthrie unveiled a couple of other non-big-data-focused offerings in the aforementioned blog post, as well. He announced a new mobile services Web client library that supports IE8 and later browsers, current versions of Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and Phone Gap 2.3.0 and higher. There's also now cross-origin resource sharing support available, which allows mobile services to accept cross-domain Ajax requests.
As a result, developers can now connect both HTML5 Web client apps and Apache Cordova/PhoneGap apps to their mobile services, using Azure for both data storage and authentication, Guthrie said.