Azure Data Warehouse is Released to General Availability

Microsoft has just announced the release of Azure Data Warehouse to general availability.  Azure DW is a fully managed data warehouse that leverages elastic and hyper scale database cloud technologies to provide massively scalable SQL capabilities. 

Azure SQL Data Warehouse uses an elastic massively parallel processing (MPP) architecture built on top of the industry-leading SQL Server 2016 database engine. It allows you to interactively query and analyze data using the broad set of existing SQL-based tools and business intelligence applications that you use today. It uses column stores for high performance analytics and storage compression, a rich collection of aggregation capabilities of SQL Server, and state of the art query optimization capabilities. With built-in capabilities such as Polybase, it allows you to query Hadoop systems directly, enabling a single SQL-based query surface for all your data.

Azure DW comes with a number of features including polybase for combining HD Insight and SQL queries, very fast scaling,  transparent encryption, auditing, threat detection and Active Directory integration. 

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Azure Data Warehouse Now Available in Preview

Azure Data Warehouse is a new Microsoft service for staging large volumes of data for analysis purposes.  The Azure Data Warehouse service is now available in preview.

Azure Data Warehouse is a 100% PAAS based service to compliment the existing Azure SQL Database.  Azure DW is different than Azure SQL in a number of different ways:

  • Azure SQL is a traditional SQL database.  Azure Data Warehouse provides both relational and non-relational data processing models. 
  • Azure SQL is optimized for OLTP workloads where Azure Data Warehouse is optimized for ETL and analytics workloads.
  • Azure Data Warehouse is designed to be elastic to massive scale (e.g. Petabytes) where Azure SQL maxes out at 1 TB.
  • Azure Data Warehouse leverages Polybase which is Microsoft’s technology for integrating queries across SQL Server and Hadoop into a single model.

From a pricing perspective, there are some differences as well:

  • Azure SQL is sold based on performance units and so is Azure Data Warehouse.  However, these units are not the same.  It’s not clear which is faster or slower at the moment so it’s difficult to compare pricing from this perspective.
  • Azure SQL is priced on a monthly basis and cannot be stopped as a cloud service without deleting the database.  Azure Data Warehouse runs on demand and you can start and stop it.  Similar to an Azure VM, when stopped you only pay for storage costs and not processing costs.
  • With Azure SQL, you don’t pay for storage costs – they are bundled into the price.  With Azure Data Warehouse, you pay for storage costs for the data being housed in the warehouse.

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