Microsoft today announced the general availability of Windows Azure HDInsight, the company’s cloud-based distribution of Hadoop. As you might expect, the new release is Apache Hadoop offered as an Azure cloud service.

Back in March, Microsoft first turned on support for Hadoop on Windows Azure. For the first time, HDInsight enabled Microsoft customers to easily deploy and manage Hadoop clusters. Between then and now, the company says “the reception has been tremendous.”

Here is Microsoft’s pitch:

Microsoft recognizes Hadoop as a standard and is investing to ensure that it’s an integral part of our enterprise offerings. We have invested through real contributions across the project – not just to make Hadoop work great on Windows, but even in projects like Tez, Stinger and Hive. We have put in thousands of engineering hours and tens of thousands of lines of code.

Microsoft’s Hadoop work has come in a large part thanks to its partnership with Hortonworks, which will make Hortwonworks Data Platform 2.0 for Windows generally available next month. This will be the first supported Apache-pure Hadoop v2 distribution for Windows, while Microsoft promises it will add support for Hadoop v2 in a future update to HDInsight (it’s currently on version 1.3).

Enterprise users will be pleased to know Windows Azure HDInsight integrates with Excel and Power BI, Microsoft’s business intelligence offering in Office 365. Developers will meanwhile be happy to hear HDInsight supports choice of programming languages such as .NET, Java, and so on.

Nevertheless, Microsfot says its Hadoop-based solution HDInsight is “a building block.” The company has a lot more planned in the pipeline to build various end-to-end solutions that will help business customers get value from (read: make sense of) their data.

See also – Drawn to Scale — Now your MongoDB can scale to Hadoop size with no performance hit and Leveraging big data in the world of enterprise

Top Image Credit: Maksym Darakchi