Where's Hadoop for Microsoft's Windows Server?

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?
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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?

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