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Microsoft Azure Beefs Up Cloud-Based Database Support

Scott Ferguson

The big public cloud providers are offering more support for enterprise-grade tools and services within their platforms in order to get customers to move their workloads over. Database is one these services, and Microsoft is looking to give developers an answer.

At the start of its Build Conference in Seattle on May 10, Microsoft rolled out its own cloud database offering dubbed Azure Cosmos DB. This globally distributed database is geared toward developers working in the cloud, and the company claims it can support the creation of cutting-edge applications, including ones for artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Azure Cosmos DB started out as an internal database within Redmond, and it has been developed over the past seven years for enterprise use outside the company. Microsoft claims the new database can support any kind of data developers want, including graph data, and offers support for NoSQL APIs.

Since it's designed for global scale -- "planet-scale" in Microsoft parlance -- developers can host their data anywhere, and then move that data around to other parts of the world to follow demand for the application.

Scott Guthrie, Cloud and Enterprise Group EVP, at Microsoft Build 2017.  (Source: Microsoft)
Scott Guthrie, Cloud and Enterprise Group EVP, at Microsoft Build 2017.
(Source: Microsoft)

"Azure Cosmos DB allows you to elastically scale across any number of geographical regions while delivering the industry's only financially backed database SLA across availability, latency, throughput, and consistency," Scott Guthrie, executive vice president for Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group, wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

In addition to Cosmos DB, Microsoft announced it would support two of the most popular open source databases available: MySQL and PostgreSQL. The company now offers support for both as a managed service through its Azure cloud.

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"Increasingly, developers want to move to database-as-a-service options, to maximize productivity. Azure is making it possible to develop using any database you prefer and use it as a service," Guthrie wrote.

Microsoft is also planning a preview of a new database migration services designed for Oracle and SQL Server customers.

It's not unusual for the big public cloud providers to unleash several enterprise features all at once to assure developer communities that they are meetings their cloud needs. In April, Amazon Web Services CTO Werner Vogels did much the same, again focusing a good deal on databases services within the cloud, including a beta version of its own PostgreSQL-compatible Aurora database. (See AWS CTO Unleashes Torrent of Developer Features.)

As more public cloud providers offer support for relational databases, customers could start seeing price cuts. A recent report by 451 Research found that object storage prices are dropping thanks to increased competition, and databases could be next. (See Storage Now Driving New Cloud Pricing Fight: Report.)

The AWS and now Microsoft announcements seem to herald that change.

Related posts:

— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud News. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

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