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May 1, 2018

Microsoft Azure Data Warehouse Gets a Tune Up

George Leopold

(RoboLab/Shutterstock)

Microsoft is keeping pace in the cloud data warehouse race with the release of its next-generation Azure SQL data warehouse which it promotes as an optimized computing tier.

Microsoft said its massively-parallel processing engine for cloud data warehousing boosts query performance over the previous generation platform by a factor of five. It also serves up to 128 concurrent queries on a single cluster.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and a growing list of cloud data warehouse providers such as Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery and Oracle’s (NYSE: ORCL) AI-powered “autonomous data warehouse” are upgrading computing and storage components to deliver data where it is needed as quickly as possible. With an emphasis on petabyte-scale analytics, the upgraded Azure SQL platform uses adaptive caching techniques along with a “blended approach” that includes remote storage and fast SSD caching running on NVM Express connections.

The approach “places data next to compute based on user access patterns and frequency,” Rohan Kumar, vice president of Azure Data, explained in a blog post.

The upgraded platform also incorporates several analytics and storage platforms customized for the cloud, including native integration of the Microsoft Azure distribution of Apache Spark-based Databricks along with Blob Storage and Power BI. The package is designed to support data warehousing and real-time analytics, the company said.

Microsoft also unveiled an extensive partner network that includes data integration and migration specialists such as Informatica and Talend. The collaboration is aimed at helping customers shift in-house data warehouses to the cloud.

On the analytics side, Microsoft data warehousing partners include Alteryx (NYSE: AYX), MicroStrategy (NASDAQ: MSTR), Qlik and Tableau Software (NYSE: DATA). Self-service business intelligence tool vendor Tableau said this week it would provide direct connections to the updated Azure data warehouse.

Meanwhile, Alteryx said its collaboration with Microsoft would combine its “in-database capabilities” with the Azure data warehouse to boost performance and deliver “petabyte scale analytics.”

Customers for Microsoft’s current generation cloud data warehouse include Adobe (NASDAQ: ADBE), LG Electronics (KRX: 066570) and Toshiba (TYO: 6502). Microsoft said the upgraded service, released on Monday (April 30), will be available in 33 Azure cloud regions.

Recent items:

Google’s BigQuery Gaining Steam as Cloud Warehouse Wars Heat Up

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