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Microsoft Offers NoSQL Service with Commercial Release of Azure DocumentDB

Microsoft announced the general availability this week of Azure DocumentDB, its NoSQL database as a service for developers and IT pros.

The Azure DocumentDB service is designed to store document data in the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format, but the data can then be queried using the SQL language. It permits the complex querying of mobile and Web application data without having to worry about mismatch issues between application schema and database schema, according to Microsoft's description. Microsoft contends in a video that many "schema-free databases" do not support such complex querying.

The Azure DocumentDB service is designed to scale to meet operational demands. The service is sold based on the performance level selected. Performance levels can then be changed on the fly using the Azure portal, or a software development kit can be used.

Microsoft bills by the hour, based on the highest performance level selected for a collection of data during an hour. Collection performance levels range from "S1" (250 request units per second), "S2" (1,000 request units per second) and "S3" (2,500 request units per second). Microsoft defines a request unit as "a single measure for the resources required to perform various database operations and service an application request," per its FAQ. The Azure DocumentDB service runs on solid-state drives in Microsoft's datacenters, providing 10GB of storage at each of the three performance levels.

The service exposes resources through a RESTful APIs, but Microsoft also supports the use of ".NET, Node, Java and Python" libraries. It's possible to manage Azure DocumentDB resources via REST paths, the Azure portal or PowerShell scripts.

Developers have been opting to use NoSQL databases as "the tool of choice," according to Microsoft's announcement, so Azure DocumentDB is designed to alleviate the setup and management hassles of running a NoSQL database. Microsoft provides full management support for the Azure DocumentDB service, as well as a 99.95 percent service level agreement.

Microsoft describes the pricing for Azure DocumentDB at this page. While the service is generally available today for commercial use, it's not clear where it's available. For instance, it's not yet available in the South Central U.S. region, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Also available today is a "new open source data migration tool" that is designed to make it easier to move data stored on other database systems to the Azure DocumentDB service. The tool is demonstrated in this Microsoft Channel 9 video.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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