Microsoft has a dream — Big Data democratized through easy to use tools and a unified data platform. Quentin Clark, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, will be at Strata Conference + Hadoop World 2013 in New York City tomorrow to talk about the company’s vision. In the meantime, we’ll give you a sneak peak at the forthcoming news. We hope to have even more news to share later today or first thing tomorrow, even before Clark's speech.

Later today, Microsoft will officially unveil its very own Hadoop distribution. The reason most of us (including the press) haven’t talked much about it until now is because it's been in preview.

Introducing Windows Azure HDInsight

Officially called Windows Azure HDInsight, Microsoft describes its Hadoop distro is part of an open and flexible platform that provides 100 percent Apache Hadoop as a service-in-the-cloud. This is interesting because most Hadoop vendors provide on-premise solutions. That said, Hadoop seems to be heading for the cloud anyway. In fact, last week Teradata announced cloud availability and today Cloudera introduced a Cloudera Connect: Cloud.

HDInsight has been built on top of the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP), the industry’s only 100 percent open source Hadoop distribution, to ensure full compatibility with Apache Hadoop. It offers customers something that no other Hadoop provider can — the Microsoft label. Love it or hate it, that label is familiar to almost everyone in the enterprise world. Not only that, but the average worker tends to trust Microsoft, so in a world in which big data often engenders fear, HDInsight might provide comfort.

Add to that the fact HDInsight integrates with Microsoft’s business intelligence tools and gives users the ability to analyze data in a familiar environment. It’s also agile so that users can deploy and provision a Hadoop cluster, no matter the size, in minutes instead of hours or days, without losing any data.

The Microsoft distro is also enterprise-ready. It offers enterprise-class security and manageability with a secure node in every cluster and extensive support for PowerShell scripting. And finally, and perhaps of utmost importance to enterprise developers, it offers a choice of languages including .NET, Java and others. Consider that .NET developers can exploit the full power of language-integrated query with LINQ to Hive, and that database developers can use existing skills to query and transform data through Hive.

Dying to know more? So are we. Stay tuned ...