In October at the PASS Summit 2011, Microsoft announced expanded investments in “Big Data”, including a new Apache Hadoop™ based distribution for Windows Server and service for Windows Azure. In doing so, we extended Microsoft’s leadership in BI and Data Warehousing, enabling our customers to glean and manage insights for any data, any size, anywhere. We delivered on our promise this past Monday, when we announced the release of the Community Technology Preview (CTP) of our Hadoop based service for Windows Azure.

Today this preview is available to an initial set of customers. Those interested in joining the preview may request to do so by filling out this survey. Microsoft will issue a code that will be used by the selected customers to access the Hadoop based Service. We look forward to making it available to the general public in early 2012. Customers will gain the following benefits from this preview:

  • Broader access to Hadoop through simplified deployment and programmability. Microsoft has simplified setup and deployment of Hadoop, making it possible to setup and configure Hadoop on Windows Azure in a few hours instead of days. Since the service is hosted on Windows Azure, customers only download a package that includes the Hive Add-in and Hive ODBC Driver. In addition, Microsoft has introduced new JavaScript libraries to make JavaScript a first class programming language in Hadoop. Through this library JavaScript programmers can easily write MapReduce programs in JavaScript, and run these jobs from simple web browsers. These improvements reduce the barrier to entry, by enabling customers to easily deploy and explore Hadoop on Windows.

  • Breakthrough insights through integration Microsoft Excel and BI tools. This preview ships with a new Hive Add-in for Excel that enables users to interact with data in Hadoop from Excel. With the Hive Add-in customers can issue Hive queries to pull and analyze unstructured data from Hadoop in the familiar Excel. Second, the preview includes a Hive ODBC Driver that integrates Hadoop with Microsoft BI tools. This driver enables customers to integrate and analyze unstructured data from Hadoop using award winning Microsoft BI tools such as PowerPivot and PowerView. As a result customers can gain insight on all their data, including unstructured data stored in Hadoop.

  • Elasticity, thanks to Windows Azure. This preview of the Hadoop based service runs on Windows Azure, offering an elastic and scalable platform for distributed storage and compute.

We look forward to your feedback! Learn more at

Val Fontama
Senior Product Manager
SQL Server Product Management