Microsoft Updates Big Data Enterprise Offerings

Microsoft is making numerous updates across its widespread data platform to put more Big Data analytics capabilities into the hands of its enterprise customers.

The wide-ranging enhancements affect key components such as the Analytics Platform System (APS), Azure SQL Database and other Microsoft Azure services. Many other improvements were also made, including a new Java SDK for Azure DocumentDB -- its NoSQL database -- database migration tools, and SQL Server tools and drivers.

"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 yesterday.

One of the key 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. "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," Wissner said.

Azure exec Vibhor Kapoor said Azure SQL Database "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."

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.

The Microsoft Data Platform
[Click on image for larger view.] The Microsoft Data Platform (source: Microsoft)

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, including updates to the Microsoft JDBC Driver for SQL Server and the SQL Server Driver for PHP.

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

The flurry 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.

Microsoft exec Scott Guthrie (ScottGu) took a "deep dive" look into the Azure updates here.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.