September 29, 2015

Azure Cloud Adds Hadoop Security

George Leopold

As Microsoft broadens its Azure cloud with new analytics capabilities and hardware to accelerate performance, another analytics partner has announced plans to add its big data security features to Hadoop deployments running on Microsoft Azure.

Dataguise, Fremont, Calif., said Tuesday (Sept. 29) it would integrate its DgSecure data discovery and protection tool with Microsoft’s (MSFT) Azure cloud HDInsight. The combination would support “improved security and compliant Hadoop deployments” on Azure, Dataguise said.

The move is the latest to address what critics consider an overall lack of built-in security in Hadoop clusters that has hampered adoption of the open source analytics platform, especially in the cloud.

Datagsuise’s approach to Hadoop security focuses on detecting, auditing and monitoring sensitive corporate data in real time. Its DgSecure product is specifically designed to deliver data security for Microsoft’s Hadoop service. Further, the combination is intended to enable customers to deploy high-availability Hadoop distributions in the cloud with greater security in environments that scale on demand.

Dataguise claims its security framework can detect sensitive data regardless of its type or location, define its relationship to other data, limit access and provide monitoring for data privacy assurance. The company further claims its cloud-based security tool can detect where sensitive data resides across Hadoop deployments regardless of size.

Once sensitive data is detected and analyzed, the company said its tool protects it at the element level using data masking and encryption. Data masking is a method of creating a structurally similar but inauthentic version of an organization’s data.

The company also stressed that the growing amount of unstructured and semi-structured data like social media content processed and stored in Azure HDInsight repositories increases the need to spot, secure and monitor sensitive data. Among the reason is the need to ensure compliance with security mandates, the company noted.

Microsoft touts Azure HDInsight as a fast way to spin up Hadoop clusters in Windows or Linux. The company said the DgSecure would scale to meet user requirements without reducing the functionality or performance of its Hadoop-as-a-service offering on Azure.

The software giant has moved to strengthen Hadoop cluster security as it adds more analytics capabilities to Azure cloud. These include its Cortana Analytics Suite announced this week along with an expanded Azure data lake. Along with Azure HDInsight, the data lake includes additional storage and analytics services.

Microsoft said it is also offering a Linux version of HDInsight along with integration tools designed to debug and optimize big data code. It also introduced a new language this week called U-SQL intended to unify SQL and user code. HDInsight on Linux is generally available now.

The expansion of analytics capabilities on the Microsoft cloud also includes the Azure SQL Data Warehouse billed as an enterprise-class cloud data warehouse that controls computing power independent of storage. That approach is designed to maximize query performance.

These and other cloud initiatives announced this week by Microsoft are intended to differentiate Azure from other large cloud vendors.

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