Microsoft Azure Search Scours Unstructured Data
Search can now index Blob Storage, and a new Log Analytics feature in the Operations Management Suite offers new insights into Azure virtual machines.After enabling Azure Search on cloud databases, Microsoft is now turning its attention to unstructured data. Due to customer demand, Microsoft released a preview version of its Search indexer for Azure Blob Storage, the company's cloud-based unstructured data storage service, Eugene Shvets, a Microsoft Azure Search senior software engineer announced on Feb. 9. "Our indexers for Azure SQL Database and DocumentDB have been a hit with customers, and many of them have asked us to build similar magic for Azure Blob Storage." The indexer is intended to spare customers the challenges of extracting text from "blobs," added Shvets. "Formats like PDF and DOC/XLS are binary and difficult to parse; content type detection and metadata extraction can be non-trivial tasks. Good tools exist, but integrating them into an indexing workflow still takes considerable effort and saddles customers with a bunch of code and infrastructure to maintain," he stated. Azure Search blob indexer can extract text and metadata from PDF files, along with several Office document file formats (DOCX/DOC, XLSX/XLS, PPTX/PPT and MSG). The indexer also works on HTML, XML, ZIP, EML and, of course, plain text files. Instructions on setting up blob indexing are available in this company blog post.
For administrators seeking more information about their Azure virtual machines (VMs), Microsoft also announced a new Log Analytics capability this week. "Log Analytics (OMS) brings the power of Microsoft's new cloud-based management solution, Operations Management Suite [OMS], right into the Azure portal allowing you to provision a brand new OMS workspace, link workspaces to Azure subscriptions, and on-board Azure VMs directly to the OMS service," blogged Anurag Gupta, a Microsoft Open Source Technology Center program manager.