Alibaba Cloud E-MapReduce vs AWS EMR vs. Azure HDInsight

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Big Data is among the biggest IT trends of the last five years. The idea behind this trend is that given a sufficiently large volume of data, it is possible to derive crucial business insights that could not be discovered through other methods.

Of course, running Big Data analytics at scale requires a significant amount of processing power, and tools for parsing the data. While you can do this on premise, it is not always feasible to set up and maintain a sufficiently large infrastructure. That is why several of the leading cloud service providers have begun offering solutions for processing large volumes of data via Hadoop clusters, or similar solutions. Some of the providers offering such solutions include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Alibaba Cloud.

This article compares the major cloud-based Big Data platforms offered by each of these public cloud providers.

Hadoop Basics

Hadoop clusters utilize a technique called MapReduce. MapReduce works by breaking a data analytics job into numerous fragments, which are then distributed across the cluster’s nodes for execution.


Amazon EMR is designed to work with Hive, Impala, Pig, HBase, and Kinesis Connector. The data that is to be analyzed by the AWS EMR service is stored on Amazon S3 storage. S3 storage can be accessed programmatically through an API, but administrators also have the option of using any of the available third-party S3 clients to upload the data to Amazon EMR.

Azure HDInsight

Azure HDInsight is designed to be as flexible as possible. When creating a cluster, administrators can choose from any of the Azure virtual machine types, thereby allowing the cluster capabilities to be closely matched to the requirements of the job, while helping to control costs. It is also worth noting that Microsoft provides a 99.9% SLA that extends end-to-end, across the entire workload (not just the VMs that form the cluster).

Azure HDInsight is designed to integrate with Azure Active Directory, and supports multi-factor authentication. The service is also compliant with the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Payment Card Industry (PCI).

Alibaba Cloud E-MapReduce

Alibaba Cloud E-MapReduce is designed to work with the Apache Spark, MapReduce, and Apache Pig frameworks. The data that is being analyzed can be stored on Apache HDFS or HBase, and the cluster supports the use of tools such as Apache Sqoop and Spark SQL. Furthermore, workloads can be scheduled to run automatically. Alibaba Cloud E-MapReduce supports a variety of computational processes, including machine learning, process orchestration, stream processing, and even graph analytics.

Alibaba Cloud enforces data security through a role-based access control mechanism in which a primary account has the option of creating additional accounts, and granting specific service permissions to those accounts. Additionally, the data that is to be analyzed can be encrypted, and the ECS instances that make up the cluster can be protected with a firewall.

Alibaba Cloud is currently offering a free trial of their cloud services. You can register for a free trial subscription at: The trial includes a $300 credit that can be used to explore Alibaba Cloud’s various cloud offerings.


Author Bio:

Brien Posey is a Fixate IO contributor, and a 16-time Microsoft MVP with over two decades of IT experience. Prior to going freelance, Brien was CIO for a national chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. He also served as lead network engineer for the United States Department of Defense at Fort Knox. Brien has also worked as a network administrator for some of the largest insurance companies in America. In addition to his continued work in IT, Brien has spent the last three years training as a Commercial Scientist-Astronaut Candidate for a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space. You can follow Posey’s spaceflight training at


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