Today, at the PASS Summit 2011, Microsoft showcased its expanded investments in data platform solutions and technologies, particularly highlighting SQL Server 2012, efforts around “big data”, and innovations for both public and private cloud. These include a new Apache HadoopTM Based Distribution for Windows Azure and Windows Server and a strategic partnership with Hortonworks.  This week’s announcements represent a continuation of the decades-long work Microsoft has done with SQL Server, business intelligence and database management, as well as the company’s commitment to the cloud.

“The next frontier is all about uniting the power of the cloud with the power of data to gain insights that simply weren’t possible even just a few years ago.  Microsoft is committed to making this possible for every organization, and it begins with SQL Server 2012.” –Ted Kummert, senior vice president, Business Platform Division

On Day 1, Microsoft described upcoming innovations and technologies in several categories, including:

  • Any Data, Any Size, Anywhere.
    • Apache Hadoop based distribution for Windows Server and Windows Azure and partnership with Hortonworks: Microsoft will be working with the Hadoop ecosystem, including core contributors from Hortonworks, to deliver Hadoop-based distributions for Windows Server and Windows Azure that works with industry-leading business intelligence (BI) tools, including Microsoft PowerPivot. A Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure will be available by the end of 2011, and a CTP of the Hadoop-based service for Windows Server will follow in 2012. Microsoft will work closely with the Hadoop community and propose contributions back to the Apache Software Foundation and the Hadoop project.  Specifics are as follows:
      • Community Contributions: As part of Microsoft’s interoperability initiatives, we will propose changes and contributions back to the Apache community.
      • Compatibility with the broad Apache Hadoop ecosystem of tools & technologies: We will maintain complete compatibility with the existing ecosystem of Apache Hadoop tools technologies such as Pig, Hive, and Java, to ensure that applications are easy to migrate to Windows Server or Windows Azure.
      • Integration with Microsoft Business Intelligence: Microsoft will give users access to familiar productivity and business intelligence tools to perform analysis in an immersive, self-service and interactive way. 
      • Integration with commonly used tools and languages: For developers, Microsoft is investing to make Javascript a first class language within Big Data by making it possible to write high performance Map/Reduce jobs using Javascript. This is the sort of innovation that Microsoft hopes to contribute back as proposals to the community.
    • Release to manufacturing of Hadoop Connectors for SQL Server and SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse: Customers can use these connectors to integrate Hadoop with their existing SQL Server environments to better manage data across all types and forms. More information on the connectors can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=27584
  • Immersive Experiences Wherever You Are
  • Connecting with the World’s Data
    • Microsoft code name “Data Explorer”:  A prototype that provides a way for customers to easily discover, enrich and share data to gain competitive advantage in today’s business climate. When combined with Windows Azure MarketPlace, now available in 26 worldwide markets, Data Explorer will help customers realize their data’s full potential. Customers are encouraged to begin testing and to provide feedback when CTPs are made available in the SQL Azure Labs later this year at http://www.SQLAzureLabs.com.  
  • It Starts Today with SQL Server 2012
    • Naming and Timing of SQL Server 2012 (formerly ‘Denali’): SQL Server 2012 delivers a powerful new set of capabilities for mission-critical workloads, business intelligence and hybrid IT across traditional datacenters and private and public clouds. Due out in the first half of 2012, SQL Server 2012 is in the final production stages, with hundreds of customers going into production in CTP3. Customers should begin testing the CTP today at: http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver 
    • Naming of SQL Server Data Tools (formerly ‘Juneau’): These tools provide an integrated environment for database developers to carry out database and business intelligence projects for any SQL Server platform (both on and off premise). Learn more at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/data/gg427686