Microsoft makes its Hadoop on Azure service available to Linux users

Microsoft is delivering a preview its HDInsight big-data service on Azure available to Linux users, and is making its machine-learning service generally available.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is making available a preview version of its Azure HDInsight (Hadoop on Azure) service running on Linux as of February 18.

Like its Windows counterpart, the HDInsight on Linux service is built on top of the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP). HDInsight includes full compatibility with Apache Hadoop, as well as integration with Microsoft's own business-intelligence tools, such as Excel, SQL Server and PowerBI. And as it does with the Windows version, Microsoft plans to contribute back code it developed for the Linux HDInsight version to the Apache community, company officials said.

Update: The only version of Linux that is currently supported with HDInsight is Ubuntu (in a virtual machine), which is supported by Canonical.

The new HDInsight on Linux preview is just one of several big-data announcements the company is making today at Strata + Hadoop World in San Jose. Among the others:

  • Microsoft's Storm for Azure HDInsight is now generally available. Storm, an open-source stream-analytics platform, has been in preview for Azure HDInsight since October 2014.

  • Microsoft's Azure Machine Learning service is now generally available. Azure ML, which Microsoft made available in preview form in June, 2014, allows developers and data scientists to build and deploy apps more quickly and get access to application programming interfaces and services, like recommendations, anomaly detection and forecasting, via the Machine Learning Marketplace.

  • Microsoft is integrating its NoSQL Azure service, DocumentDB, with HDInsight using a Hadoop connector. This allows DocumentDB to be either an input source for running Hadoop queries or a place where the output of Hive, Pig and MapReduce jobs can be sent.

  • Data-integration provider Informatica has made its Informatica Cloud Agent technology available for use in Linux and Windows Server virtual machines on Azure. Available via the Azure Marketplace, Informatica's Cloud Agent will enable connectivity between Informatica's technology and various Azure data services.

Microsoft officials touted these new offerings as part of the company's growing set of services designed to help users get more information out from their data.

"We want to make Azure the best place for data," said Microsoft's Data Platform Corporate Vice President T.K. "Ranga" Rengarajan.

On the pricing front, HDInsight clusters with support for Storm will spin up at the standard HDInsight rates, which are detailed here.

The current preview pricing for Azure Machine Learning remains in effect through March 31, 2015. Starting April 1, 2015, all new and existing Azure Machine Learning subscriptions will automatically be converted to the Standard version and billed accordingly, with no action required by the user. Existing users not wishing to migrate can delete their workspaces before April 1, 2015.

There is no change or charge for the free version of Azure Machine Learning available from the Azure website, Microsoft officials said.

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