First Oracle, now Microsoft is joining the NoSQL party. At this week’s SQLPASS Summit in Seattle, Microsoft’s VP of Business Platform Developmentannounced the company was developing its own implementation of Hadoop forWindows Server and Azure. Microsoft also revealed a strategic partnership withYahoo spinoff Hortonworks. Have we just entered the Twilight zone?

Microsoft Embraces NoSQL

Microsoft is not stepping away from its popular database.In fact, SQL Server Denali, soon to be known as SQL Server 2012 is planned toship early next year. However, the company is expanding beyond the relationalworld to provide customers another choice for managing data -- a Windows versionof Hadoop.

The new Windows based Hadoop will integrate withMicrosoft’s existing business intelligence tools like PowerPivot and Excel.Microsoft has indicated they will make the code for the new Hadoop versionavailable back to the open source community for possible inclusion back into thecore Hadoop project. Interestingly, Microsoft is investing in making JavaScriptthe language to develop in for big data. They want to support developers writinghigh performance MapReduce jobs in JavaScript.

Microsoft has already released connectors for Apache Hadoopto SQL Server. A community technology preview (CTP) version of the Azure serviceis planned by the end of the year, and a CTP for Windows server should follow in2012. Official production release dates were not disclosed.

Microsoft has alsoindicated they will be working with the Hadoop community to providecontributions to the Apache Hadoop ecosystem of tools and technologies, whichshould make it easier for existing Hadoop users to leverage their existingknowledge and skills.

Learning Opportunities

Does this mean that Microsoft will give up its efforts todevelop an alternative to Hadoop and MapReduce? According to company officials,no. Projects like Dryad and the Daytona will continue. I'm sure in the future wecan expect some Microsofized version of a NoSQL tool reminiscent of othertechnologies Microsoft built an alternative to -- anybody remember Jscript?

The Hortonworks Partnership

Microsoft isn’t taking its journey down the NoSQL roadalone. It has formed a strategic partnership with Hortonworks, the Yahoospinoff filled with developers responsible for much of the original code base. Hortonworks was also in the news recently for a disputewith Hadoop competitor Cloudera that went something like:

Hortonworks said “Ourcode is bigger than everybody elses.” and Cloudera was all like “Nuhuh, we wrote more code.” Then, Hortonworks was all, “Asif. We have more code and it’s better.”

Well, maybe it didn’t go quite like that, but, it waspretty much the functional equivalent. As data sizes in the enterprise continue to grow at anastounding rate, competition in the NoSQL market will increase as more vendorscome forward to offer non-relational alternatives to meet big data challenges.