Hortonworks, provider of one of the leading Apache Hadoop distributions, is taking the open source Big Data software framework into unexplored territory: Windows.
"This is an enterprise-ready, 100 percent open source Apache Hadoop platform for the broader Windows environment," says Shaun Connolly, vice president of corporate strategy at Hortonworks. "We've been spending a lot of time integrating with Microsoft's SQL Server franchise and their business intelligence tools."
"When we first set out on this partnership about 18 months ago, our joint objective was to make Hadoop available to the broadest set of users possible," says Herain Oberoi, director of product marketin for Microsoft.
"There's been a lot of joint work that's been done since that point. The big thing about our approach is that we didn't want to make this a proprietary port," says Oberoi. "We're committed to putting our effort back into the community and the Apache Hadoop project."
Connects Hadoop to Microsoft BI Users
Microsoft and Hortonworks expanded their partnership in October of last year with the aim of connecting Hadoop with the largest population of business analysts around: users of Microsoft's business intelligence (BI) tools. The partners took a big step toward that goal on Monday with the beta release of Hortonworks Hadoop Data Platform for Windows, an open source distribution that gives organizations the ability to run Hadoop-based solutions natively on Windows.
"Today's news builds on our long-term collaboration with Microsoft and is the next critical step in our strategy of broadening the reach of 100 percent open source Apache Hadoop across the enterprise by enabling millions of Windows users around the globe to benefit from this next-generation data platform," Connolly says.
"Hortonworks Data Platform for Windows extends the Hadoop ecosystem across the Windows operating system, providing organizations with an enterprise-grade, production-tested platform for Big Data deployments," Connolly says.
Cloud Perfect Platform Big Data Solution
Connolly notes that HDP will provide identical user experiences on both Linux and Windows. Moreover, it provides interoperability across both operating systems and enables portability of Hadoop applications between on-premise deployments with HDP for Windows and cloud deployments with HDInsight Service running on Windows Azure.
"Azure is an important piece," Connolly says. "The cloud becomes a perfect platform to build a Big Data solution on. What we expect to see is that customers will probably kick the tires and run proofs of concept on premise and then, as they think about deployment, they may choose to deploy in the cloud."
"We definitely think Big Data becomes a pretty key workload for cloud computing and that's partly also why we're investing in this space," Microsoft's Oberoi adds.
While the Big Data market is still finding its footing, Windows Server owned 73 percent of the overall server market in 2012, according to research firm IDC. As the first Hadoop distribution to support Windows, Hortonworks may have the opportunity to steal a march on competitors.
"We continue to see growing interest in Apache Hadoop from enterprises eager to store, process and gain business intelligence from data that was previously ignored due to the limitations of traditional data management technologies," says Matt Aslett, research director, data management and analytics at 451 Research.
"The Hortonworks Data Platform for Windows brings the potential benefits of Hadoop to the Microsoft community, delivering a platform designed to integrate with their existing Microsoft data management and analytics tools," Aslett says.
Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn. Email Thor at email@example.com