Microsoft Officially Launches Azure Databricks Analytics Service

Microsoft Databricks service is intended to give users a leg up on developing their big data analytics and machine learning projects.

Microsoft Azure Databricks

Months after initially announcing Azure Databricks in November 2017 at the Connect 2017 conference in New York City, Microsoft officially made the cloud service available on March 22.

Based on the Apache Spark framework for big data processing, Azure Databricks is aimed at organizations looking for a running start on their large-scale data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) projects. It offers developers and data scientists a streamlined setup process and integrates with the company's other cloud-based services, including Azure SQL Data Warehouse and Cosmos DB.

The service was built in collaboration with Databricks, a company founded by the team behind Apache Spark, noted Rohan Kumar, corporate vice president of Azure Data at Microsoft, and Ali Ghodsi, CEO of Databricks, in a joint blog post. In 2016, Databricks made waves by claiming to be the first company to enable end-to-end, enterprise-grade security on Apache Spark with its Databricks Enterprise Security (DBES) framework. 

Continuing the big data theme, Microsoft also announced the general availability of an integration between Azure Event Hubs, a telemetry data-ingestion and event-streaming service, with Apache Spark. A new connector, which supports the Spark Core, Spark Streaming and Structured Streaming processing engines for Spark versions 2.1 through 2.3, allows developers to use the big data processing platform as the basis of large-scale analytics and machine learning applications.

Microsoft also recently launched Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL, cloud- delivered offerings based the community versions of the open source databases.

"The GA [general availability] milestone means that, starting today, these services are bringing the community versions of MySQL and PostgreSQL with built-in high availability, a 99.9 percent availability SLA, elastic scaling for performance, and industry leading security and compliance to Azure," stated Tobias Ternstrom, principal group program manager of Azure Data at Microsoft, in a March 20 announcement. Ternstrom's team is also working on the official release of an Azure-branded MariaDB database service in the coming months, he added.

Elsewhere on the Azure cloud, Microsoft kicked off a public beta of Azure DNS Private Zones on March 23. The capability provides name resolution services to virtual networks in Azure without having to configure and manage a custom domain name server (DNS).

For administrators who like to keep a close eye on their Azure services, an updated alert platform consolidates notifications into a streamlined experience and delivers alerts faster than before. It is now capable of up-to-the-minute monitoring of various metrics and can issue alerts in less than five minutes. The so-called "next generation of Azure alerts" also allows administrators to set rules involving multi-dimensional metrics for more precise alerting.

Finally, Microsoft is warning customers using the Access Control Service for authentication that the service will shut down on Nov. 7, or a little over seven months from today. Users will want to get started on their migrations to Azure Active Directory or another system as soon as possible, since significant code changes will be required for most migrations, according to Microsoft. 

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...