Analytics Platform System Update 4 Generally Available

Matt Usher, Senior Program Manager, DS SQL Engineering

We are pleased to announce the general availability of Appliance Update 4 for the Microsoft Analytics Platform System. The Microsoft Analytics Platform System is a turnkey big data analytics appliance, combining Microsoft’s massively parallel processing (MPP) data warehouse technology with HDInsight, Microsoft’s 100% Apache Hadoop distribution, and delivering it as a turnkey appliance. APS’s big data capability is powered by PolyBase, an integrated technology allowing customers to utilize the skillset they’ve developed in TSQL for querying and managing data in Hadoop platforms.

This update delivers several new capabilities and features, including:

PolyBase/Hadoop enhancements

  • Support for Cloudera 5.1 and Hortonworks Data Platform 2.1 and 2.2
  • Extended partial aggregate pushdowns into Hadoop
  • Grow HDInsight region on an appliance with an existing region

T-SQL compatibility improvements to reduce migration friction from SQL SMP

  • Scalar User Defined Functions – CREATE/DROP FUNCTION statements
  • PIVOT/UNPIVOT relational operators
  • Round Robin as a third table type for hybrid performance
  • Query plan improvements to favor hash joins over nested loop joins in DW scenarios for better query performance
  • Addition of a new DBCC command – DBCC DROPCLEANBUFFERS
  • SQL Server SMP to APS Migration Utility


  • 1.5x data return rate improvement for SELECT queries to improve external analysis integration

OEM Hardware on AU4

  • Dell, Quanta, and HP (Gen9) next generation server support
    • Intel Haswell Processors, 256 GB (16x16Gb) 2133MHz memory
  • Updated HP 5900 series switches including High Availability improvements
  • Mixed hardware version support allows extended appliance lifetime and expandability

Together with SQL Data Warehouse, Microsoft offers a choice of MPP data warehouse on-premises, in the cloud or both.

To learn more, please see the Microsoft Analytics Platform portal.