At its annual developer conference – all-virtual this year – Microsoft has dropped a lot of announcements regarding Azure Data. Build 2021 was busy on the cloud front and Azure Data changes are happening across Azure Analytics, Azure Cosmos DB,

Azure Synapse Analytics

Back at the end of 2020, Microsoft introduced the public version of Azure Synapse Analytics. Azure Synapse Analytics is an analytics service that manages data for business applications. At Build 2021, Microsoft is introducing a bunch of new features for the service.

Azure Synapse Link for Dataverse gives developers tools to move their data from Power Apps and Dynamics 365 to Azure Synapse. Elsewhere, Microsoft is bringing support for Spark 3.0.1 in preview, which allows users to access the latest version of Apache Spark.

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Also in preview is Synapse Apache Spark Hardware Acceleration. Specifically, Analytics now handles GPU processors and field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Finally in Azure Synapse Analytics, Microsoft is adding Azure Database for mySQL and PostegreSQL support for Azure Purview.

Azure Cosmos DB

Microsoft also has an array of changes coming to Azure Cosmos DB, which was announced at Build 2017. It is a cloud database service is a brand-new platform created from the ground up. It allows customers to power planet-scale cloud services and huge data applications. Microsoft describes Cosmos DB as a first of its kind service with guaranteed uptime, consistency, throughput, and latency at the 99th percentile.

New abilities for Azure Cosmos DB include:

  • “With the introduction of the partial document update for Azure Cosmos DB, developers can modify specific fields or properties within a document without requiring a full document read and replace. This gives developers more flexibility to update only certain portions. Partial document update is available for Core (SQL) API and via .NET SDK, Java SDK and stored procedures. Developers can sign up for the partial document update preview.
  • Azure Cosmos DB serverless is now generally available for all APIs (Core, MongoDB, Cassandra, Gremlin and Table). Developers can now optimize costs and more easily run apps with spiky traffic patterns on Azure Cosmos DB. Serverless is a cost-effective pricing model that charges only for the resources consumed by database operations. It is ideally suited for apps with moderate performance requirements and frequent periods with little to no traffic.
  • Azure Cosmos DB Linux emulator is now in preview. With the introduction of the Azure Cosmos DB Linux emulator, Linux developers can now build, test and learn on Azure Cosmos DB, free and locally on their Linux and macOS machines. The Linux emulator is a free local download of Azure Cosmos DB and does not require an Azure subscription.
  • Azure Cosmos DB expanded free tier is now generally available. Developers now have more flexibility to build, test and learn in the cloud with the expansion of free tier, which provides 1,000 request units (RU/s) provisioned throughput and free 25GB storage monthly for the lifetime of one Azure Cosmos DB account per Azure subscription.
  • Azure Cosmos DB integrated cache is now in preview. Customers can optimize costs for read-heavy workloads by setting up an integrated cache in their Azure Cosmos DB account. The cache is billed hourly for fixed, dedicated compute resources, and it reduces the number of requests hitting the operational database, resulting in lower costs.
  • Always Encrypted for Azure Cosmos DB is now in preview. Customers can encrypt sensitive data inside their client app before it gets stored in their database with Always Encrypted for Azure Cosmos DB. This ensures that confidential parts of datasets are only available to appropriate audiences. It also enables customers who must comply with regulatory requirements to use Azure Cosmos DB to securely store their data in the cloud.”

It seems the updates announced at Build 2021 today are for the paid version of Cosmos DB and not the free version Microsoft launched last year.

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