Preview of the Windows Azure HDInsight Service -- our cloud-based distribution of Hadoop – is broadly available through the Windows Azure Portal. The Windows Azure HDInsight Service is built on the Hortonworks Data Platform to ensure long term compatibility with Apache Hadoop, while providing customers with the low cost and elasticity of cloud computing. Starting today, customers can perform Hadoop-based big data analysis in the cloud through the Windows Azure Portal, paying only for the storage and compute capacity that they use. The preview will enable customers to deploy permanent clusters with up to 40 nodes.

Customers like Microsoft's own 343 Industries and UK-based Microsoft partner Ascribe have been early adopters of HDInsight Service and are enjoying the benefits of big data insights at cloud speed and scale.