Microsoft Scales Out SQL Server With PDW
Two and a half years in development and more than six months in preview release, the Microsoft SQL Server R2 Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) was released in early 2011 to enable customers to scale up into deployments analyzing hundreds of terabytes. The appliance is offered on hardware from partners including Hewlett-Packard. At launch, PDW pricing was just over $13,000 per terabyte of user-accessible data, including hardware, though Microsoft shops can expect discounting. It remains to be seen how deep street-price discounts will go.
PDW, like many products, uses massively parallel processing to support high scalability, but Microsoft was late to the market and lags behind market leaders on in-database analytics and in-memory analysis. Microsoft is counting on the appeal of its total database platform as a differentiator. That means everything from its data lineage and budding master data management capabilities to its widely used Information Integration, Analysis and Reporting services, all of which are built-in components of the SQL Server database.
Microsoft announced October 12 that it will get into the big data, non-relational data world with a Windows-focused release of Apache Hadoop and a related SQL Azure Hadoop service. The Azure service will debut by the end of 2011 while the on-premises software is expected in the first half of 2012. No word on whether Microsoft will work with hardware partners on a related big data appliance.