Big data is not a stand-alone technology, or just new type of data querying mechanism. It is a significant part of the Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics product range, and a vital component of the Microsoft data platform.

Microsoft and Hortonworks offer three distinct solutions based on HDP:

  • HDInsight. This is a cloud-hosted service available to Azure subscribers that uses Azure clusters to run HDP, and integrates with Azure storage
  • Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP) for Windows. This is a complete package that you can install on Windows Server to build your own fully-configurable big data clusters based on Hadoop. It can be installed on physical on-premises hardware, or in virtual machines in the cloud
  • Microsoft Analytics Platform System. This is a combination of the massively parallel processing (MPP) engine in Microsoft Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) with Hadoop-based big data technologies. It uses the HDP to provide an on-premises solution that contains a region for Hadoop-based processing, together with PolyBase—a connectivity mechanism that integrates the MPP engine with HDP, Cloudera, and remote Hadoop-based services such as HDInsight. It allows data in Hadoop to be queried and combined with on-premises relational data, and data to be moved into and out of Hadoop.