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One of the most fundamental aspects of computing infrastructure will play a key role in Microsoft’s Ignite 2018 pitch to developers and customers, with several new database features competing for space alongside dozens of other new services for Azure.

Full Coverage: News and analysis from Microsoft's Ignite 2018 event in Orlando

The company plans to introduce SQL Server 2019 this week in Orlando, and it will also extend a key capability of its newest cloud database — Cosmos DB — to all Azure customers. It will also make it easier for users of its Azure SQL cloud database to automatically scale their needs as their applications grow or change.

Given how central the database is to the entire enterprise computing software stack, this is a huge area of competition between cloud vendors and traditional database providers alike. Amazon Web Services offers six types of managed databases and supports several others that customers might want to manage themselves, including SQL Server and Oracle.

SQL Server has been around since 1989, and the newest version is designed for customers who are managing their own servers and want to incorporate some of the leading big-data applications into their mix. Microsoft plans to announce that a preview version of the database that has built-in support for Hadoop and Spark, and will also allow users of other databases to query data stored in Oracle, Teradata, or MongoDB right from SQL Server.

Azure Cosmos DB, one of the biggest cloud products Microsoft launched last year, is ready for the general public to take advantage of its multimaster capabilities after a preview period. Multimaster features unveiled earlier this year at Microsoft Build will allow customers to write data to multiple cloud computing regions at the same time, improving the performance and reliability of their apps.

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