Microsoft Strengthens Data Platform with SQL Database and Big Data Appliance Updates, Adds New Java SDK for its NoSQL Service

By Tiffany Wissner, Senior Director, Data Platform

Making it easier for more of our customers to access our latest big data technologies, we are announcing updates to some of our flagship data platform products and services. 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. 

Azure SQL Database

Announced last month and available today is a new version of Azure SQL Database that represents a major milestone for this database-as-a-service. With this preview, we are adding near-complete SQL Server engine compatibility, including 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. Internal tests using over 600 million rows of data show query performance improvements up to 5x in the Premium tier of the new preview relative to today’s offering. Continuing on our journey to bring in-memory technologies to the cloud, when applying in-memory columnstore in the new preview, performance is also improved up to 100x.

“From a strategy perspective, these SQL Database service updates are our answer to migrating and working with large data types by leveraging features such as online index rebuild, and partitioning,” said Joe Testa, vice president of Systems Development at Weichert, one of the nation’s leading full-service real estate providers. “Simply put, the results so far have been fantastic—we’re seeing >2x better performance and the advanced features that were only previously available in SQL Server, now make it easier to work with our applications as we continue to migrate our mission-critical apps to Azure.”

These new preview capabilities are offered as part of service tiers introduced earlier this year, which deliver 99.99% availability, larger database sizes, restore and geo-replication capabilities, and predictable performance. When combined with our recently announced elastic scale technologies that scale out to thousands of databases for processing 10s of terabytes of OLTP data and new auditing capabilities, Azure SQL Database service is a clear choice for any cloud-based mission critical application.

Analytics Platform System

As Microsoft’s “big data in a box” solution built with HP, Dell and Quanta, the Analytics Platform System is a data warehousing appliance that supports the ability to query across traditional relational data and data stored in a Hadoop region – either in the appliance or in a separate Hadoop cluster. This latest release includes a data management gateway that establishes a secure connection between on-premises data stored in the Analytics Platform System and Microsoft’s cloud business intelligence and advanced analytics services such as 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. 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. Read more here.

New Java, PHP and migration tools

Microsoft is also making available new tools and drivers that support greater interoperability with PHP and Java and make it easier for customers to migrate to and use our big data technologies.

Azure DocumentDB is our fully-managed NoSQL document database service with native support for JSON and JavaScript. DocumentDB already includes SDKs for popular languages, including Node.js, Python, .NET, and JavaScript – today we are adding a new Java SDK that will make DocumentDB easier to use within a Java development environment. The SDK provides easy-to-use methods to manage and query DocumentDB resources including collections, stored procedures and permissions. The Java SDK is also available on Github and welcomes community contributions.

Additionally, we are bolstering our SQL Server tools and drivers with updates to the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server the SQL Server Driver for PHP. Available early next week, these drivers will make it easier for our customers’ applications to access both SQL Server and Azure SQL Database.

For customers that are migrating their IBM DB2 workloads to SQL Server, we are also making available today the SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA) tool which automates all aspects of database migration including migration assessment analysis, schema and SQL statement conversion, data migration as well as migration testing to reduce cost and reduce risk of database migration projects. SSMA 6.0 for IBM DB2 automates migrations from IBM DB2 databases to SQL Server and Azure SQL Database and is free to download and use. Support for IBM DB2 is in addition to earlier updates to SSMA 6.0 including migration support for larger Oracle databases.

Microsoft data platform

These new updates will enable more customers to use Microsoft’s data platform to build, extend and migrate more applications. Microsoft’s data platform includes all the building blocks customers need to capture and manage all of their data, transform and analyze that data for new insights, and provide tools which enable users across their organization to visualize data and make better business decisions.