Yesterday, at the Hadoop Summit, Microsoft announced that Azure HDInsight now supports Hadoop 2.4.  This is the next release of our 100 percent Apache Hadoop-based distribution for Microsoft Azure. In conjunction with Hortonworks recent release of HDP 2.1 as a Hadoop on Windows offering and Analytics Platform System as a Hadoop and data warehousing appliance, this release of Azure continues our strategy of making Hadoop accessible to everybody with Hadoop in the cloud.

This release of HDInsight is important because it has the latest benefits of Apache Hadoop 2.4 which provides order magnitude (up to 100x) performance improvements to query response times and continues to leverage the benefits of YARN (upgrading to the future “Data Operating System For Hadoop 2.0”). Finally, we are also providing an easy-to-use web interface that gives users of HDInsight a friendly experience. You can create queries with a graphical user interface to issue Hive queries.

The 100x improvements to query response times is due to the Stinger initiative where Microsoft in collaboration with Hortonworks and the open source software community (OSS) have brought some of the technological breakthroughs of SQL Server to Hadoop. We are excited to see Microsoft-led contributions bring generational improvements to Hadoop.

Since the Azure HDInsight’s release on October, 2013, we have seen tremendous momentum of customers deploying Hadoop in the cloud. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School is using HDInsight to process large amounts of unstructured log data and to maintain their stringent requirements of data retention (that can be as long as 30 years). Virginia Polytechnic Institute is using the power of HDInsight to analyze massive amounts of DNA sequencing data.  More of these examples can be read on CIO magazine  who recently highlighted several HDInsight customer stories.

With Hortonworks HDP 2.1 For Windows, Microsoft Analytics Platform System, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft customers have an unprecedented number of options to deploy Hadoop on-premise, in the cloud or hybrid.  We invite you to learn more through the following resources: