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Microsoft's Expanding Data Management Portfolio Gives DBAs and Devs Plenty To Digest

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While Microsoft this year has rolled out extensive additions to its data management portfolio as well as business intelligence and analytics tools, SQL Server is still its core database platform. Nevertheless, Microsoft has unleashed quite a few new offerings that DBAs, developers and IT decision makers need to get their arms around.

 "I think Microsoft needs to have the full stack to compete in the big data world," said Andrew Brust, who is research director at Gigaom Research. Brust Tuesday gave the keynote address at SQL Server Live!, part of the Live! 360 conference taking place in Orlando, Fla., which like Redmond, is produced by 1105 Media. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has talked of the data culture that's emerging, as noted in the Redmond magazine October cover story.

Brust pointed out that Microsoft has delivered some significant new tools over the past year including its Azure HDInsight, its Apache Hadoop-based cloud service for processing unstructured and semi-structured Big Data. Microsoft recently marked the one-year anniversary of Azure HDInsight with the preview of a new feature, Azure Machine Learning, which adds predictive analysis to the platform.

"Since the summer, they've added half a dozen new data products, mostly in the cloud but they're significant nonetheless," Brust said in an interview, pointing to the variety of offerings ranging from Stream Analytics, the company's real-time events processing engine  to Azure Data Factory, which lets customers provision, orchestrate and process on-premises data such as SQL Server with cloud sources including Azure SQL database, Blobs and tables. It also offers ETL as a service. Brust also pointed to the new Microsoft DocumemtDB, the company's new NoSQL entry, which natively supports JSON-compatible documents.

Microsoft's release of SQL Server 2014, which adds in-memory processing to its flagship database, aims to take aim at SAP's HANA. "Microsoft is going after it from the point of view you can have in memory and just stay in SQL Server instead of having to having to move to a specialized database," Brust said. "It's a version one, so I don't expect adoption to be huge but it will be better in the next version. They are definitely still working on it. It's not just one-off that they threw out there -- it's very strategic for them."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 11/19/2014 at 1:38 PM


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