Microsoft has announced the general availability of Azure SQL Data Warehouse, a data-analysis service that many companies are likely to find important. Azure is the last of the three major cloud services to offer such a service.
Data warehouses are repositories of historical and other data that are used for queries and analysis that guide management decisions, rather than for transactions. They’re a well-established concept, originating in the late 1980s.
SQL Data Warehouse can be dramatically expanded within seconds, to accommodate the occasional large inflows of new data common in warehouses, Microsoft said. It’s built on the SQL Server 2016 database engine and offers massively parallel processing.
Because data warehousing only requires processing power intermittently, SQL Data Warehouse decouples processing costs from storage costs. That can save a lot of money, Microsoft noted.
The new service can process both SQL and non-SQL data, using SQL to query even non-relational data in Hadoop or Blob Storage, Microsoft said.
Microsoft first released the service for a limited preview in July 2015, and it was opened up to a wider audience last October, according to Redmond Magazine. Amazon Web Services released its competitor, Redshift, in February 2013. Google Cloud Platform’s comparable service, BigQuery, has been available since 2010.