Cloud

Build 2017: Microsoft promises a turnkey globally distributed database service, Azure Cosmos DB

By leveraging Azure and the intelligent cloud, Microsoft is offering customers an easy-to-use globally distributed database service called Cosmos DB.

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Screen capture by Mark Kaelin from Build 2017 Keynote

The annual Build conference is where Microsoft reveals its latest platforms, applications, and tools for developers, ranging from the garage coder creating the next great mobile app to the DevOps executive trying to deploy global production systems. For Build 2017, Microsoft may have revealed one of its most far-reaching products ever—Azure Cosmos DB.

Put simply, Cosmos DB is Microsoft's new database service running on the Azure platform. However, there is a little bit more to it than that. Cosmos DB is a multi-model, globally distributed database service that leverages the Azure intelligent cloud, which according to Microsoft, makes it both more powerful and more flexible than other database services.

SEE: Microsoft Azure: The smart person's guide

Azure Cosmos DB

The demonstration of Azure Cosmos DB shown during the keynote address on Day 1 of Build 2017 revealed some powerful features of this new database as a cloud service product. The Microsoft representative showed how an admin could use the Azure Portal to access the service and make changes to its configuration on the fly.

If you were a retailer, for example, and there was a surge in a particular part of the world on Black Friday, the admin could switch on a nearby Azure data center to cover the increased traffic. If needed, the retailer could also scale up capacity to meet demand and then scale it back when demand subsided.

And because Cosmos DB is running on an intelligent cloud system, all of this power and flexibility can be accessed with a computer using a web browser or even a mobile smartphone on the fly. An enterprise can manage the Cosmos DB system so that it pays only for the amount of service it needs at any given point.

Beyond flexibility in capacity, Microsoft also claims Azure Cosmos DB will readily accept key-value, graph, and document data without the enterprise having to worry about schema or index management. This ease of use capability is made possible because the system automatically indexes the data for you. Supported APIs for accessing your data include SQL, JavaScript, Gremlin, MongoDB, and Azure Table Storage.

SEE: Serverless computing: The smart person's guide

Pay-as-you-go

Pricing for Cosmos DB is on a pay-as-you-go basis under the auspices of the Azure cloud service—in other words, you pay for only what you use. According to the Microsoft Cosmos DB website, the current rate for SSD storage is $0.25 GB/Month and the rate for Reserved RUs/second is $0.008/hour.

Each enterprise will have to make its own analysis, but that does not seem too much to pay to achieve a globally distributed presence with a turnkey solution.

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About Mark Kaelin

Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.

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