When one hears the words “Microsoft database” SQL Server usually comes to mind. But the company recently announced two new features that expand support for NoSQL on its Azure cloud platform. Azure DocumentDB is a NoSQL database service that promises to unite the processing and transactional capabilities of a relational database with the flexibility of a NoSQL database. DocumentDB is highly scalable, efficiently indexes heterogeneous documents without requiring schema or secondary indices, and allows for rich query and transaction processing capabilities.
“The demands of mobile and cloud-backed applications are pretty hard on traditional infrastructure,” said T.K. Rengarajan, the Microsoft Corporate VP in charge of the database platform. “The NoSQL database community has emerged to take into account the different problems of scale, schema evolution, relaxed consistency, and the need to work on multiple devices.” As confirmation of DocumentDB’s scalability, Rengarajan noted that for the past three months the database has been beta tested using the metadata from Microsoft’s OneNote application.
The other new announcement was the availability of HBase support for Azure HDInsight, Microsoft’s cloud computing service that uses Hadoop to analyze large collections of unstructured data. Apache HBase is an open source NoSQL distributed database for the Apache Hadoop framework. HBase brings transactional capabilities to Hadoop databases to allow fast updates and retrievals.
The importance of NoSQL in business applications is a reflection of the exponential growth of mobile, social and sensor-derived data, and the announcement this week demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to providing Azure customers with a variety of data solutions beyond the traditional RDBMS.