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Azure DocumentDB Preview Available to Devs in the Cloud

Microsoft's Azure team releases NoSQL document database-as-a-service accessible for devs looking to toward the cloud for app development/deployment, as well as a few other developer-friendly Azure tools.

Microsoft's Azure team said it has released a preview of a new database service, called Azure DocumentDB, that may draw more developers to look toward the cloud. It also released two other Azure-based tools for data storage and search.

Azure DocumentDB is Microsoft's version of a NoSQL database as a service, with built-in support for JSON and JavaScript. Microsoft claims that it enables schema-free developmen, and allows developers to support applications across multiple platforms via NoSQL while adding support for "the query processing and transaction semantics common to relational database systems." Azure Document DB includes library support for ".NET, Node.js, JavaScript, and Python," and Microsoft indicated it plans to contribute "client libraries to the open source community."

On the big data side of things, Microsoft announced HBase, which is used on the Azure HDInsight service. HDInsight is Microsoft's Hadoop-based cloud computing service that used for analyzing piles of structured and unstructured data. Apache HBase, on the other hand, is an open source nonrelational database that can host tables with "billions of rows x millions of columns" using commodity hardware clusters, according to the Apache Software Foundation's definition. HBase data is stored on Microsoft Azure as Blob data. Developers might use HBase to store sensor data or Web site data for later analysis via the HDInsight service, according to Microsoft's announcement. The latest version of HDInsight, version 3.1, is the only one that currently supports HBase, according to Microsoft's component list.

Lastly, Microsoft issued a preview of Azure Search, which is Microsoft's search service that can be used in applications. Microsoft described Azure Search as a fully managed service.

"Customers do not have to worry about the complexities of full-text search or deploying, maintaining or managing a search infrastructure," Microsoft's announcement explained.

The search service is accessed through an API "from any platform or development environment." It provides management for searches that need to plough through large volumes of data.

Microsoft also indicated that it has bulked up its virtual machine (VM) image collection that's accessed through the Azure Portal (currently in preview) and the Azure Gallery. There are now nearly 300 preconfigured VMs available, including many that are based on open source Linux-based operating systems.

If all of that Azure news weren't enough, Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president of the Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group, detailed a whole roster of Microsoft Azure improvementsand updates that were made back in July.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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