We were right all along. Almost a month ago, news got around that Microsoft was planning on releasing a second Community Technology Preview (CTP) build of its Hadoop on Azure product. It was openly debated if this would delay the formal release of the project.

Today, Microsoft, in line with market anticipation, released the second CTP (CTP 2) to testers currently in the program. Microsoft also announced plans to expand the capacity of the technology preview to 2,000 participants. This is a sharp increase from the previously admitted 500, but still a somewhat shallow pool. Microsoft claims that it is seeing “exceptionally high demand” for the service.

That’s not surprising given how hot Hadoop is as a framework for dealing with massive quantities of data. In other news, SQL Server 2012 is now generally available. SQL Server 2012, previously codenamed ‘Denali,’ contains tools that are also designed to handle large amounts of information.

This is how Microsoft defines the new CTP, and its changes from the first:

This preview provides an elastic Hadoop service with more reliability through disaster recovery of the Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) NameNode, and support for advanced analytics through Hadoop projects like Mahout.  In addition, it provides actionable insights to everyone through familiar tools like Office, SharePoint and award winning BI tools like PowerPivot and Power View in SQL Server 2012.  This preview also enables customers to enrich their data by connecting to data and intelligence outside their firewalls.

Hadoop, an open source project, is something that you might not expect Microsoft to support. However, the company, in my estimation, realized that if it doesn’t support the relatively new framework it would be putting several of its core products at a material disadvantage. Thus, on burns Hadoop for Azure.

When the project hits general availability, we’ll bring you the news.