Microsoft debuts Azure Cosmos DB, a superset of its DocumentDB service

Microsoft is taking its NoSQL DocumentDB service a step further with its new Azure Cosmos DB.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is introducing a new globally distributed database, called Azure Cosmos DB, at Day 1 of its Build 2017 developer conference in Seattle.

Credit: Microsoft

Azure Cosmos DB is a superset of Microsoft's existing NoSQL DocumentDB service. Microsoft is transitioning all existing DocumentDB customers and their data to Azure Cosmos DB for no additional charge, officials said on May 10.

(In case you're wondering, in spite of the shared "Cosmos" naming, Azure Cosmos DB has no relation to Microsoft's internally-developed and used "Cosmos" massively parallel storage and computation service, nor the customer implementation of Cosmos technologies in the form of Azure Data Lake deliverables, officials told me.)

Microsoft officials said they started work on Azure Cosmos DB in late 2010 to help Microsoft's own developers cope with globally distributed applications. Microsoft introduced Azure DocumentDB in preview form in 2014 for those who wanted a NoSQL service for developing their own applications. Microsoft refers to Azure Cosmos DB "the next big leap in the evolution of DocumentDB."

As it does with DocumentDB, Microsoft calls Cosmos DB a database for powering "planet-scale" cloud services and applications. Because it is a schema-free, multi-model database, it can support key-value, documents, graphs, and columnar data types It also supports a variety of application programming interfaces (APIs) for accessing that data including MongoDB, DocumentDB SQL, Gremlin (preview), and Azure Tables (preview). Cosmos DB supports five consistency choices, offering strong SQL-like consistency to NoSQL-like eventual consistency, and "everything in between," according to the company.

Officials said Cosmos DB makes global distribution turnkey by providing a single image of the database for deployment in Azure datacenters across the world. Microsoft is offering service-level agreements for latency, throughput, and consistency. Its promise with Cosmos DB is "your data gets there fast, or your money back."

In related Build 2017 news, Microsoft is also announcing today that it is making available previews of Azure Database for MySQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL, adding support for the two most prominent open source databases to its managed relational database platform.

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