Microsoft Data Platform Further Embraces Big Data

Microsoft has updated several components of its data platform to deliver more Big Data technologies to customers.

Those components include Azure SQL Database, the Analytics Platform System (APS) and Microsoft Azure, with new Java and PHP migration tools and a new Java SDK thrown in also.

"These updates are part of our approach to make it easier for our customers to work with data of any type and size -- using the tools, languages and frameworks they want -- in a trusted environment, on-premises and in the cloud," said exec Tiffany Wissner in a blog post today.

On the Azure side, updates were made to Storage, Azure SQL Database, Identity and Access Management, and Media Services.

One of the main updates is a previously announced overhaul of Azure SQL Database -- hailed as "a major milestone for the Database as a Service" -- which is now available as a preview. It includes "support for larger databases with online indexing and parallel queries, improved T-SQL support with common language runtime and XML index, and monitoring and troubleshooting with extended events." Data query performance has reportedly seen improvements of up to 5x in certain areas, jumping to 100x with the application of in-memory columnstore technologies.

The APS -- described as a Big Data appliance or "Big Data in a box" incorporating third-party technologies -- is getting a new data management gateway that can establish a secure connection between on-premises data stored in APS and the Microsoft cloud BI and other analytics services, including Power BI and Azure Machine Learning.

"This capability, coupled with PolyBase, a feature of the Analytics Platform System, allows for seamless integration of data stored in SQL Server with data stored in Hadoop," Wissner said. "This now enables users of Power BI and Azure Machine Learning to gain insights from Analytics Platform System, whether on-premises or in the Azure cloud."

The migration tools will support more interoperability with PHP and Java to ease customer migrations to Microsoft Big Data technologies.

How it all fits together
[Click on image for larger view.] How It All Fits Together (source: Microsoft)

The Microsoft NoSQL offering -- Azure DocumentDB -- is getting a new Java SDK to join its Node.js, Python, .NET and JavaScript counterparts to improve ease of use in a Java environment.

SQL Server tools and drivers will also be updated next week.

In addition to the Azure SQL Database Preview, the bevy of Azure updates include a preview of Premium Storage, enhancements to Azure Active Directory and Azure Site Recovery, and the general availability of Azure RemoteApp and Live Channels for Azure Media Services.

Azure exec Vibhor Kapoor said Azure SQL Database now features "near-complete SQL Server engine compatibility" and better Premium tier performance.

"It brings industry-leading in-memory technologies to the cloud, unlocks new functionality that streamlines the movement of SQL Server database applications to Azure, and dramatically improves the ability for customers to work with heavier database workloads," Kapoor said.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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