Microsoft Azure hosts Hadoop, other open-source apps

Microsoft has also added support for the Node.js library and various other open-source tools

Making good on an announcement made earlier this year, Microsoft has installed a version of Apache Hadoop on its Azure cloud service. The company now offers a limited preview version of the open-source data analysis platform, often used for big data-style analysis.

The availability is part of an Azure upgrade the company announced Monday.

The company has also installed onto Azure the Node.js JavaScript library, and has integrated its PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) offering with a number of other open-source applications. The Azure upgrade also includes adjusted Azure pricing, an increase in the amount of data that can be stored in SQL Azure, and adds real-time usage and billing information onto the management portal.

In October, Microsoft announced that it would offer Hadoop on Azure, with the help of Hortonworks, a Yahoo spinoff company that offers a Hadoop distribution.

Microsoft's Apache Hadoop Based Distribution for Windows Azure will feature a set of installers, a JavaScript library that will help developers build MapReduce jobs, as well as drivers for analyzing data in the Hadoop Hive database from Microsoft Excel and PowerPivot.

This update offers only a trial version of Hadoop, and Microsoft made no announcement of when it will be available as a full service. Those interested in running the preview version must submit a form. From the submissions, Microsoft will pick an unspecified number of users to test the platform, based on anticipated usage patterns.

In addition to Hadoop, Azure also now incorporates a number of other open-source technologies as well. With the Node.js library, developers can create Web applications that will run from an Azure version of Microsoft Server. Node.js is a collection of integrated JavaScript functions and a JavaScript runtime engine that can be used to build Web applications.

To aid in Node.js use, Microsoft has released a downloadable SDK (software development kit), which includes a copy of Node.js, a version of Windows PowerShell and an Azure emulator. Developers can build and test their applications on their own machines and then upload them to Azure for deployment.

The company has also provided some helpful tools and documentation for integrating into Azure other open-source applications as well, including the Eclipse integrated developer environment, the MongoDB database, the Lucene/Solr search engine and the memcached caching technology.

The support of all these technologies will allow developers to "build applications on Windows Azure using the languages and frameworks they already know," wrote Gianugo Rabellino, Microsoft's senior director of open-source communities, in a blog post.

In addition to the new technologies, Microsoft has made a number of adjustments to Azure pricing as well. Customers in North America and Europe will pay US$0.12 for each GB transferred in and out of Azure (it previously cost $0.15). Asia Pacific customers will be charged $0.19 per GB (it previously cost $0.20).

Database prices have been altered as well. Users can now keep a database as large as 150 GB on Azure--the previous limit was 50 GB. Customers with more than 50 GB will not be charged more than the maximum rate of $499.95.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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