What's more, Microsoft evidently could not ignore that companies are hungry for the valuable insights that can be gleaned by analyzing the myriad data streaming from sources such as Facebook and Twitter. Organizations representing an array of industries -- including financial, health care, government, academia, politics, and entertainment -- have already managed to reap significant findings from gathering and crunching all those bytes.
The real challenge lies in the task of Hadoop-ifying SQL Server for seamless communication with the likes of Windows Server and Azure, as well as standard, familiar desktop apps such that performing big data analysis needn't require a degree in computer sciences. Here, Microsoft isn't going it alone; the company announced it has partnered with Hortonworks -- a three-month-old spin-off from Yahoo -- to bridge the technological gaps between Hadoop and the Windows Server as well as Azure.
Timeline-wise, Microsoft intends to push out a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure by the end of this year; a CTP of the Hadoop-based distribution for Windows Server will follow in 2012.
As what may be more of a stopgap measure to the envisioned tight unification, Microsoft also unveiled the final versions of the Hadoop Connectors for SQL Server and Parallel Data Warehouse, which organizations can use to integrate Hadoop with their existing SQL Server environments.
Hadoop aside, Microsoft used the venue to showcase Data Explorer, a prototype technology designed to help organizations easily discover, enrich, and share data. The tool is intended to integrate with Windows Azure MarketPlace. Additionally, Microsoft demonstrated its Power View technology, formerly Project Crescent, which brings interactive touch capabilities to Windows devices.
This article, "Microsoft unites SQL Server with Hadoop," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.