Microsoft Expands Azure SQL Capabilities With Elastic Pools

In a busy week for Microsoft's cloud, the company officially launched its capacity-stretching Azure SQL Database elastic pool option.

Microsoft Azure SQL Database elastic pool

Elastic database pools, an Azure SQL option that automatically scales cloud databases up or down as conditions dictate, is now generally available.

The feature, announced during last year's Build developer conference, is aimed at helping enterprises avoid the high cost of overprovisioning resources in anticipation of spikes in application usage. Conversely, it can help improve the performance of applications that would have otherwise suffered if organizations allocated too few database resources during times of peak demand.

"Each elastic database in the pool gets the resources it needs when it needs it, and eliminates the complexity of managing the performance of individual databases," Tracy Daugherty, partner group program manager at Microsoft Azure SQL, said in a May 11 announcement.

Elastic pools feature auto-scaling options that customers can configure to their liking. "You can control the performance assigned to a pool, add or remove elastic databases on demand, and define performance of elastic databases without affecting the overall cost of the pool. This means you don't have to worry about managing the usage of individual databases," Daugherty added.

Also this week, Microsoft announced that its streaming customers can reach more corners of the world with their content.

Azure CDN from Akamai, in preview since last fall, has officially launched. Akamai operates an extensive content delivery network (CDN) consisting of more than 200,000 servers spread across 120 countries. According to Microsoft, 90 percent of world's Internet users are a single network hop away from an Akamai CDN server.

Last year, Microsoft released a Premium Azure CDN tier using Verizon's infrastructure. "Now, by joining forces with both Verizon and Akamai, Azure CDN creates new opportunities for our customers to achieve more with the power of the cloud—enabling them to select the right CDN for the regions in which they operate, as well as load balance across CDNs," Sudheer Sirivara, partner director at Microsoft Azure Media and Azure CDN Services, wrote in a May 11 blog posting.

On the cloud backup front, Microsoft announced the launch of the new Recovery Services vault resource for Azure Resource Manager, an infrastructure management solution that allows administrators to collectively deploy, monitor and manage all of a cloud application's resources instead of handling them individually. Customers can use a Recovery Services vault to automate and unify their cloud and on-premises backups.

Finally, Azure Test Drives, also announced during the Build developer conference back in March, is now live.

As its name suggests, Azure Test Drives are preconfigured images that allow prospective customers to evaluate select third-party cloud offerings from the Azure Marketplace in a sandboxed environment at no cost and without the need to configure an Azure virtual machine or supply test data. A total of 12 test drives are currently available, including Deep Security SaaS from Trend Micro, AltaVault from NetApp and Cloud NAS from SoftNAS. More test drives are in the works, 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 network of...