16 Jul

Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse Gets a Speed Boost

    Businesses that have placed their big data and analytics workloads on Azure SQL Data Warehouse should observe improved performance courtesy of a recent enhancements made by Microsoft.

    Jason Zander, executive vice president of Microsoft Azure, revealed that his group had flipped the switch on new capabilities that provide at least double the query performance. “This significant performance improvement is made real by new instant data movement capabilities that allows for extremely efficient movement between data warehouse compute nodes,” he stated in a July 12 announcement.

    This was made possible by integrating data movement capabilities directly into the SQL Server engine, explained Tomas Talius, a Microsoft Azure Data partner architect, in a separate July 12 blog post. This enable the Azure SQL Data Warehouse to harness the performance-enhancing capabilities of the multi-core parallel processors that are running in its underlying architecture.

    Performance is further enhanced by Azure Accelerated Networking, a set of network throughput optimizations for Azure cloud instances. In this case, it supports data transfer speeds of up to one gigabyte per second per node, noted Talius.In addition, Azure SQL Data Warehouse now supports up to 128 concurrent queries, allowing more users to query a database at the same time, Zander said.

    Azure Service Fabric Mesh Preview Goes Live

    Locked for months behind a private beta after its Build 2018 debut, users can now see how Azure Service Fabric Mesh stacks up against other container hosting platforms.

    Based on technologies that power Microsoft’s core cloud infrastructure along with other services including Azure SQL Database and Dynamics 365, Azure Service Fabric allows users to deploy and run containerized applications without having to manage instances, configure networks or provision cloud storage. It supports both Linux and Windows-based containers.

    Developers using Microsoft’s IDE, Visual Studio 2017, can download Azure Service Fabric Mesh tools that enable them to debug and publish their applications to the service. Once an application is deployed, Service Fabric Mesh works in the background to provide automated scaling, service discovery and other maintenance tasks, while allowing users to perform zero-downtime upgrades.

    Although the Azure Service Fabric Mesh preview is open to all comers as of July 16, it’s only available from select cloud data centers. So far, the public beta is limited to three Azure regions, California, Virginia and the Netherlands.

    New Azure Firewall and Virtual WAN Services 

    For Customers looking to strengthen the security of apps and cloud resources that are attached to their Azure Virtual Networks, Microsoft has launched a new stateful firewall as a service offering.

    Called Azure Firewall, the service allows administrators to configure various network and application-level connectivity policies that filter traffic based on port, protocol and IP addresses. The product’s built-in monitoring and reporting capabilities can be accessed using Microsoft’s Azure Monitor toolkit.

    Another new service, called Azure Virtual WAN (Wide Area Network), enables businesses to connect their branch offices to headquarters and each other. It supports both traditional routers as well as a growing number of newer software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) systems from select vendors, noted Zander.

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