Microsoft Enhances Data Platform with Availability of Fully-Managed NoSQL and Search Services

 Guest post by Tiffany Wissner, Senior Director, Data Platform

As part of our commitment to delivering a world-class data platform for our customers, I am  excited to announce the general availability of Azure Search and Azure DocumentDB to support the search and unstructured data  needs of today’s modern cloud applications.

  • Generally available today, Azure Search is a fully manage search service that enables developers to easily add search capabilities to web and mobile applications. 
  • We are also announcing the April 8 general availability of Azure DocumentDB , our NoSQL document database-as-a-service.

These new data services extend our investments in a broad portfolio of solutions to unlock insights from data. Azure is at the center of our strategy, offering customers scale, simplicity and great economics. And we continue to make it easier for customers to work with data of any type and size – using the tools, languages and frameworks they want – in a trusted cloud environment.

Azure Search now generally available

 Azure Search helps developers build sophisticated search experiences into web and mobile applications. It reduces the friction and complexity of implementing full-text search and helps developers differentiate their applications through powerful features not available with other search packages. As an example, we are adding enhanced multi-language support for more than 50 languages built on our many years of natural language processing experience from products like Microsoft Office and Bing. With general availability, Azure Search now offers customers the ability to more easily load data from Azure DocumentDB, Azure SQL Database, and SQL Server running in Azure VMs in to Azure Search using new indexers. Plus, a .NET software development kit (SDK) is now available to make working with Azure Search a more familiar experience.

JLL, a professional services and investment management company that specializes in commercial real estate, is currently using Azure Search to enable search at scale as it was difficult to do so previously.

“It has always been our plan to have our entire web listings platform in the cloud, but the only component that stopped us from doing that was search. Now, with the Azure Search service, we can realize our goal,” said Sridhar Potineni, director of Innovation at JLL. 

Gjirafa, a full-text web search engine and news aggregator specialized in the Albanian language, is also using Azure Search to take on web search giants. Gjirafa is able to use Azure Search to prioritize results that directly tie to their business model.

“Using Azure Search to pre-process the language, we can determine the exact meaning of a phrase before returning the search results. This, along with our local data, means we can serve the Albanian market better than the big search engines,” said Mergim Cahani, founder and CEO of Gjirafa.

Azure DocumentDB generally availability next month

 Azure DocumentDB offers rich query and transactional processing over a schema-free JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data model, which helps enable rapid development and high performance for cloud-born data and applications. Offered in units that scale to meet application performance and storage needs, Azure DocumentDB allows customers to quickly build, grow, and scale cloud applications. The global reach of Azure datacenters ensures that data can scale with the global growth of the application.

New at general availability are flexible performance levels within our standard tier which allow fine control over throughput and cost for data depending on application needs. Azure DocumentDB will be available in three standard performance levels: S1, S2, and S3. Collections of data within a DocumentDB database can be assigned to different performance levels allowing you to purchase only the performance you need. In preview, DocumentDB has been used for a wide variety of scenarios including telemetry and logging data, event and workflow data, device and app configuration data, and user-generated content.

Customers such as Telenor and News Republic are currently using Azure DocumentDB to store and query schema-free event and app configuration data. Telenor, based in Fornebu, Norway, is a mobile operator with subscribers in 27 nations. To attract customers to their service, the company used Azure DocumentDB to get a promotion up and running quickly and track user sign ups.

“With Azure DocumentDB, we didn’t have to say ‘no’ to the business, and we weren’t a bottleneck to launching the promotion—in fact, we came in ahead of schedule,” said Andreas Helland, Mobility architect at Telenor.

News Republic, a free mobile app that aggregates news and delivers it to more than 1 million users in 15 countries, uses Azure DocumentDB to make its app more interactive and create more user-focused features.

“Many people read the news passively, but we have built personalization and interactivity into our app with Azure DocumentDB. This is definitely a great way to get more people using the app and keep existing users interested,” said Marc Tonnes, database administrator for News Republic.

Microsoft data services

The value provided by our data services multiplies when customers use them together. For example, Xomni uses both Azure DocumentDB and Azure Search to create omni-channel marketing experiences for top-tier retailers like Gamestop. Likewise, we are committed to making it easy for customers to connect these services to others within the data platform through tools like the Search Indexer (to connect with SQL Database, Azure DocumentDB, and SQL Server in an Azure VM) and the recently announced Azure DocumentDB Hadoop Connector.  By making it simpler to connect data sources across Azure, we want to make it easier to implement big data and Internet-of-Things solutions.

Azure data services provide unparalleled choice for businesses, developers and IT pros with a variety of managed services from Microsoft and our partners that work together seamlessly and connect to our customers’ data platform investments– from relational data to non-relational data, structured data to unstructured data, constant and evolving data models. I encourage you to try out our new and expanded Azure data services and let us know what you think.