Hortonworks Data Platform 1.3, released to GA on August 13, 2013, delivers on Hortonworks’ promise to bring Hadoop to the world of Windows. HDP 1.3 is certified to run on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012. Microsoft also offers the platform, rebranded HDInsights, via its Azure cloud. Importantly, the platform is portable across Windows and Linux environments.
Hadoop was originally developed running on Linux, and the vast majority of development of the open source framework has taken place in Linux environments. This left the many enterprises running Windows in their data centers out of the Hadoop party. According to IDC, 75% of x86 servers shipped in 2012 ran Windows, with 25% running Linux.
Hortonworks was the first Hadoop vendor to identify this significant market opportunity, announcing a strategic partnership with Microsoft to bring Hadoop to Windows in 2011. It was at this time that Microsoft announced it was abandoning its own Hadoop-rival, LINQ to HPC (code-named Druid), and was throwing its lot in with Hadoop.
The relationship with Microsoft is key to Hortonworks’ go-to-market strategy. The company, spun out of Yahoo! in June 2011, gives HDP away for free and generates revenue by selling maintenance and technical services. As such, Hortonworks needs to get HDP into as many corporate data centers as possible. The company simply can’t ignore enterprises running Windows if its strategy is to work.
Microsoft Excel, meanwhile, is still the most widely used business intelligence tool on the market (even if competing BI vendors don’t consider it a “true” BI tool.) To extend its lock on this market, Microsoft has invested heavily in both improving Excel’s self-service capabilities and improving its ability to scale. Tightly integrating Excel and SQL Server with Hadoop is in line with this strategy.
As mentioned, HDP 1.3 is portable across Windows and Linux, meaning applications built in one environment will run in the other. This is important because it will take several years for the nascent Hadoop-on-Windows community to develop the same level of support that the Hadoop-on-Linux community has built up. Developers that don't want to pay Hortonworks for support services can port applications from Windows to Linux should the need arise.
Action Item: Hadoop practitioners should feel confident building applications in Windows environments with HDP 1.3 due to the platform’s application portability capabilities. Hortonworks should continue efforts to support and build a Hadoop-on-Windows community of practitioners and partners.