The next major version of HBase that will have several new features. The "Singularity", because you will have to start and stop your cluster to upgrade to 0.96. 0.96 requires Hadoop 1.0.0 at least. It will be supported on Hadoop 2.0.0 as well. 0.96 uses protobufs all the time. All of its serializations to zookeeper, to the filesystem, and over rpc are protobufs. It runs on jdk7. Metrics have been edited and converted to use Hadoop Metrics2. It has HBase Snapshots and PrefixTreeCompression, etc. Stack will be talking about additional features in addition to the ones mentioned above.
Michael Stack is the chair of the Apache HBase Project Management Committee and has contributed to its development since 2007. St.Ack is a Software Engineer at Cloudera. Previously, he worked at Stumble upon.