Continuing to deliver on its promised commitment to open source, Microsoft yesterday announced support for running HDInsight on Ubuntu Linux clusters.

HDInsight, Microsoft's version of the Hadoop big data software--is one of the fastest-growing services in Azure, wrote Oliver Chiu, product marketing, Hadoop/Big Data and Data Warehousing, Microsoft. He added that the decision to provide Linux support was made in response to a "steady stream" of requests from customers.

"Responding to this demand, customers can now choose Windows or Linux operating systems when they deploy Hadoop in Azure," said Chiu. "Both options are first class citizens, offering simple deployment, SLA, technical support for the entire stack, ranging from Hadoop to the operating system."

Chiu added that this new support will enable those already familiar with Hapoop on Linux on-premises to augment their systems with the cloud while being able to make use of existing skill sets and resources.

Matt Winkler, program manager on the HDInsight team, demoed the new capability in a Channel 9 video. “For people who are using Hadoop on-prem today, for people who want an easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy, easy-to-manage Hadoop experience, they can walk up to the Azure portal, they can spin it up, and they'll get up and running just like we deploy on Windows. We’ll get that cluster up and running, and then it’s ‘Hadoop on.’”

Winkler also previewed Ambari, a project for managing and monitoring bid data clusters. Ambari provides a dashboard that shows the performance and state of Hadoop clusters, as well as the ability to customize settings and deploy apps onto the cluster.

To get started on Azure HDInsight on Linux, go to the Azure portal, and select the option under HDInsight to sign up.