Microsoft today made it clear that it is working on bringing Hadoop, which is rising in both popularity and usage, to its Azure, and Windows Server products.

The company is building its own deliverables of the Hadoop stack for its products. Community technology preview builds of the technologies will be available in the next 3 to 15 months. The CTP build of the Hadoop-based service for Azure is due this year, while the CTP of the Hadoop product for Windows Server will be released in 2012.

The company has not put firm dates down for final product releases. This is unsurprising given the nascency of the projects. Microsoft described its work as “[delivering] enterprise class Apache Hadoop based distributions on both Windows Server and Windows Azure.” The company further hailed the news as a big, important announcement for those who deal with ‘big data.’ Of course, that is Hadoop is built to handle.

As a part of its work building to connect with Hadoop, Microsoft will contribute to several elements of Hadoop itself. This will likely further the cause of Hadoop as an entity. Microsoft stated that its efforts will result in the “simplified download, installation and configuration experience of several Hadoop related technologies, including HDFS, Hive, and Pig, which will help broaden the adoption of Hadoop in the enterprise.” It still makes one drop an ironic leer when Microsoft works so closely with the Open Source community. But this is the new market reality.

As ZDNet noted in its coverage today, Microsoft had previously announced “Hadoop Connectors for Microsoft’s SQL Server and Parallel Data Warehouse offerings.” It appears that to ensure that its Azure and Sever offerings remain competitive, Microsoft is willing to cater to all comers, Open Source or not. Then again, with the current level of competition in the cloud and the server market, it is probably the right move.