The Christmas and New Year season is finally passed. Or, at least, the turkey is out of the way. Whether one has gotten over the holiday season is another matter.

If anyone paid attention, Microsoft released a CTP of Isotope just before Christmas (see here). The easiest way to explain Isotope is that  it is “Hadoop for Windows”.

I had some time to try it out and I was pleasantly surprised by how slick the package is. For one, the CTP is hosted on Azure so the pre-requisite for evaluating it is absolutely minimum. And the Metro look is refreshing.

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The most useful bit is the inclusion of an ODBC driver and a VSTO pane that provides integration with Excel. The VSTO pane provided functionality equivalent to Microsoft Query since Microsoft Query doesn’t currently run. (Of course, HiveQL isn’t SQL so there will be limitations down the line.) But I was able to poke the ODBC driver using other tools. On the whole, this CTP is ultra-slick at showing Hadoop’s power and demonstrates how Microsoft can harness its vast repertoire of technologies to provide a compelling offering.

If you haven’t signed up yet, do.