Azure, Hortonworks bet big on cognitive tech; HDInsight promises 99.9 percent performance


Machine learning and analytics platforms are offering real-time insights to business stakeholders, and a growing partnership between Hortonworks Inc. and Microsoft Corp. is advancing the ability to achieve cognitive solutions for customers working in a hybrid world, according to Hortonworks’ Wei Wang and Microsoft’s Oliver Chui.

The partnership between the companies had them betting big on Apache Hadoop and the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Hortonworks committed to making HDInsight its “Premier Connected Data Platforms” cloud solution. The goal of the collaboration is to bring Hadoop and Apache Spark to the enterprise through Azure HDInsight in a managed platform solution that delivers easy deployment and lower Total Cost of Ownership.

“We are going to announce Spark 2.1 with Microsoft Azure HDInsight. We are going to guarantee 99.9 percent of SLA [service level agreements] for enterprise customers … to feel at ease about their data where they’re going to locate either in the cloud or within their data center. [This includes] speed and response and reliability,” said Wei Wang (pictured, right), senior director of product marketing at Hortonworks, regarding the company’s recent announcement.

Wang and fellow collaborator Oliver Chiu (pictured, left), senior product marketing manager for big data and data warehousing at Microsoft, sat down with John Furrier (@furrier) and George Gilbert (@ggilbert41), co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE’s mobile live-streaming studio, during BigData SV 2017 conference in San Jose, CA, to discuss the benefits of the work their companies are accomplishing together. (*Disclosure below.)

Wei Wang and Oliver Chui are theCUBE’s Guests of the Week.

Managing a hybrid environment

Chiu explained that Microsoft has a deep understanding of the enterprise due to its long-term relationships with clients that have on-premise systems. The strategy for combining the platforms is to provide a roadmap that will increase cloud adoption throughout a variety of businesses and verticals.

Hortonworks boasts that one-quarter of its clients already have a cloud strategy. “Gartner told us last year the increase for end users went up 57 percent, just talking about Hadoop and Microsoft Azure,” Wang said.

She also provided some statistics based on surveys of Hortonwork’s customers. Wang noted that 43 percent of the responders are using a hybrid approach. The company’s customers are using the cloud and on-premise solutions that allow for an integrated, end-to-end processing of workloads.

Most enterprise customers want security and governance in an integrated layer, whether data is on-premise or in the cloud. These functionalities help to make customers more comfortable with the idea of putting the entire mission-critical applications in the cloud, according to Wang.

It is important to note that Gartner Inc. recently recognized Microsoft as a leader in the Magic Quadrant for Data Management Solutions for Analytics and cited HDInsight as the managed Hadoop service that runs Hortonworks Data Platform in its report.

Accelerating AI through safe access to open source

The partners will share a cloud-first approach. The next generation of the Microsoft HDInsight platform will also come with the new release of Hadoop HDP 2.6, which will be available to users in the cloud. For Microsoft, the aim is to advance the benefits of open source projects on its HDInsight platform with enterprise-level security and monitoring.

“We partnered with Hortonworks early on, and the reason we made that bet was because of Hortonworks’ strategy of being completely open. That was a key decision criterion for Microsoft. They wanted to partner with someone whose entire philosophy was open source and committing everything back to the Apache ecosystem,” said Chiu.

Microsoft will also offer the 99.9 percent of SLA guarantee across all Hadoop workloads. “Any of the workloads we have on HDInsight is enterprise ready by virtue, mission-critical, built in, all that stuff you would expect,” he said. The platform supports open-source analytic clusters for Spark, Hive, MapReduce, HBase, Storm, Kafka and R Server.

Additional wagers to support machine learning were made when Microsoft acquired Revolution Analytics, which takes R, a language for statistical computing, and makes it enterprise-ready and offers speed and scalability for Hadoop systems.

The updates to HDInsight will enable customers to take advantage of AI and machine learning technology in a powerful, easy-to-use platform, designed for the enterprise. Through the partnership, Hortonworks will support machine learning by putting Spark on top of Hadoop. However, to make Spark enterprise-ready, it is essential to keep up with updated versions.

“What we will continue to do is essentially support multiple versions of Spark. We made an effort to join in with all the open-source developers to go behind the project and make sure SQL is truly becoming available for our customers,” said Wang.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of BigData SV 2017. (*Disclosure: Some segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE are sponsored. Sponsors have no editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE