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Many online companies are already using Hadoop to process and store large sets of unstructured data, as that type of data is not able to be handled by the more traditional types of relational database systems. Microsoft is not the only company to announce a new methodology for handling big data--Oracle this month also announced it is diving into big data, and Amazon is already known for its cloud platform.
It was recently announced at the SQL Pass 2011 conference that Microsoft will be including support for the Hadoop framework in its SQL Server 2012 and Microsoft Azure. The Hadoop framework supports distributed applications which are data intensive, and those apps can process, analyze and store big and unstructured data.