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December 19, 2017

Microsoft cuts Azure HDInsight prices, gives developers new big data tools

Apache Spark enhancements are on the way, as are a whole host of new products.

By James Nunns

Microsoft’s cloud-based big data offering HDInsight is being handed some new capabilities, but that’s not the only thing that users will be looking forward to.

The Azure hosted service, which is based off Apache Hadoop, HBase, Spark, Microsoft R Server and more, is having its pricing restructured across a number of product areas.

First up is an up to 52% price reduction in Azure HDInsight, which will include the replacement of the Premium cluster tier with the Enterprise Security Package. Microsoft’s bumper Christmas savings bonanza also includes an additional 80% price reduction for R Server for Azure HDInsight. This means that the price will now be $0.016 per core hour.

Whilst price cuts are good and always welcome, they’re not the only trick up Microsoft’s sleeve. Now coming to the Azure product is Apache Kafka so that customers will be able to build open-source, real-time analytics solutions. It also comes with an Azure HDInsight 99.9% SLA.

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Azure Log Analytics integration is also now in general availability and the Enterprise Security package in available in preview. The security package is available as an optional add-on as part of the provisioning the HDInsight cluster.

Users can also see the public preview with Power BI direct query, a service that allows users to create reports based on data and metrics that are already in the Interactive Query clusters in Azure BLOB store or Azure Data Lake Store.

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To round off the product enhancements are new development tools for Apache Spark. Users of Scala and Java in Azure HDInsight can now also access plug-ins for IntelliJ and Eclipse. PySpark developers can acess a new Visual Studio Code plugin for HDInsight and developers can also edit their scripts locally on their machines – submitting PySpark statements to the Azure HDInsight cluster with “interactive experience.”

Microsoft’s been putting a lot of effort into making its Hadoop service a truly global one, in part thanks to the widespread distribution of the company’s data centres. These price reductions also makes the offering a more attractive one in comparison Amazon Web Services’ Elastic MapReduce – at least when it comes to pricing.

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