Doubling down on its investments in big data, Microsoft has hired former Yahoo chief scientist Raghu Ramakrishnan. Ramakrishnan, according to Microsoft, is a “Technical Fellow in the Server and Tools Business,” where he works on “big data and integration between STB’s cloud offerings and the Online Services Division’s platform assets.”
Yes, it’s fun that he’s held the job title of ‘chief scientist,’ and yes it’s interesting to see former Yahoo employees end up at Microsoft, but why are we bringing this to you? Simply because it underscores how seriously Microsoft is taking the future of data.
During our coverage of the release to manufacturing of SQL Server 2012, we noted the product’s focus, which mirrored Microsoft’s, on handling ‘big data:’
Along with this announcement, Microsoft has made a fresh promise concerning Hadoop, a technology that it seems quite excited by: “[the company] plans to release an additional limited preview of an Apache Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure in the first half of 2012.” In a call with Microsoft, the company stressed its interest in tackling both structured and unstructured data, and analyzing it. SQL Server 2012, which contains new business intelligence tools, and Hadoop on Azure, are designed to assist with that task.
In talks with the SQL team, which is component of the Server and Tools Business that Ramakrishnan is now a part of, nothing was more important than dealing with huge quantities of structured and unstructured data. That, and perhaps providing analytics of it. This hire heavily restates that specific focus.
Microsoft’s investments in Hadoop, an open source technology, further underline this; for Microsoft to spend its resources supporting open source anything is eye catching. When it comes to data, Microsoft wants to organize and analyze every last piece of it.