Microsoft's Azure SQL Data Warehouse Opens Its Doors to Big Data

This week's Azure updates include the general availability of SQL Data Warehouse and Service Bus Premium messaging along with the release of the Azure Usage and Billing Portal.


Microsoft's elastic cloud data warehousing offering, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, is finally generally available, the software giant announced on July 14. The solution was first announced during the company's Build 2015 developer conference and spent over a year in beta.

Now customers can create data warehouses that dynamically grow and shrink to accommodate their query performance requirements and IT budgets, kicking off Azure-back big data projects with support and service guarantees of an official release. In addition to shedding the "preview" tag, Azure SQL Data Warehouse makes its debut with a handful of new features.

As promised back in March, the solution now supports the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 2016 configuration and management toolset. Also available are geographically redundant backups, more processing power courtesy higher-performance data warehouse units (DWU) and several other features detailed in this blog post.

The Azure Service Bus Premium tier is now available in seven Azure regions (Central U.S., West U.S., East U.S., Southeast Asia, East Asia, West Europe and North Europe). Azure Service Bus is a cloud-based messaging infrastructure that can be used to link applications and devices across public and private clouds.

"The service was designed for customers who want their own dedicated resources, need scalability as their workload grows and seek reliability that assures them their messages will be processed in a predictable amount of time," said Justin Conway, a Microsoft Azure Service Bus program manager, in a statement. For its official release, Microsoft increased the message size to 1KB for Premium Messaging (versus 256KB for both the Basic and Standard tiers).

Building on Microsoft's efforts to improve visibility into Azure cloud costs, this week also saw the release of the Azure Usage and Billing Portal.

"Once deployed, you'll be able to register any subscriptions that are used by your organization so that their usage will be polled on a daily basis. From there, that usage and billed amount is displayed in an easy to use, and very configurable, Power BI dashboard," said Chris Risner Sr., technical evangelism manager at Microsoft's Developer Experience unit, in a July 14 announcement.

The portal has been released as an open-source project on GitHub. Future updates will include alerts that are triggered by unusual Azure usage and a simplified deployment process, he added.

Finally, Microsoft has rolled out an enhanced Azure Audit Log experience in the Azure portal, enabling users to explore and filter their log data in a more intuitive manner.

"We are bringing the main filter experience upfront, without having to open new blades," wrote Microsoft Senior Program Manager Rajesh Ramabathiran in a blog post. "We heard your feedback and issues around horizontal scrolling and we have avoided opening new blades unless it is absolutely necessary." Also new is a Quick Insights feature that displays the number of errors, outage incidents and other common occurrences without setting filters.

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...