Microsoft has launched a preview of Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2. As the name suggests, this is the second generation of the company’s big data analytics suite. The preview for the latest version is now available and users can sign up to test the build here.

Through this new generation, Microsoft is consolidating the features from Gen1 and adding new abilities. Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 receives a direct integration to Azure Blob Storage through a Hadoop capable file system.

Redmond adds this generation also retains the “scalability and affordability” of the previous version.

By leveraging the price and scale of the object storage, Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 is both reliable and powerful. Indeed, Microsoft says the suite can match the reliability and performance of on-premises file systems:

“Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 offers a no-compromise data lake. It unifies the core capabilities from the first generation of Azure Data Lake with a Hadoop compatible file system endpoint now directly integrated into Azure Blob Storage.

This enhancement combines the scale and cost benefits of object storage with the reliability and performance typically associated only with on-premises file systems. This new file system includes a full hierarchical namespace that makes files and folders first class citizens, translating to faster, more reliable analytic job execution.”

Benefits

Among the most interesting aspects of the new generation is its “limitless storage”. This provides organizations with the space to manage the biggest and most demanding workloads. Other benefits in Gen2 include deeper Azure integrations, specifically with Azure Active Directory.

Integration with Blob storage is a major part of Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2. Customers can analyse data via file system-focused APIs or object store APIs in Blob storage. Among the other benefits afforded by Azure Blob Storage are lifecycle policies, HA/DR compatibility, encryptions, and level tiering.