Microsoft releases preview of its 'Gen2' Azure Data Lake Storage service

Microsoft is readying a second version of its Azure Data Lake Storage service, bringing new capabilities to Azure Data Factory and adding two new Azure regions in China.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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Microsoft is making a preview release of its second generation version of its Azure Data Lake Storage Service.

Calling the "Gen2" version a "no-compromise data lake," Microsoft officials announced the new preview on June 27. Those interested can sign up for the Azure Data Lake Gen2 preview here.

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Azure Data Lake is Microsoft's repository for big-data analytic workloads in the cloud.

Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 unifies the core capabilities of the first-generation Azure Data Lake with a Hadoop-compatible file system endpoint that has been directly integrated into Azure Blob Storage.

"This enhancement combines the scale and cost benefits of object storage with the reliability and performance typically associated only with on-premises file systems. This new file system includes a full hierarchical namespace that makes files and folders first class citizens, translating to faster, more reliable analytic job execution," explain Microsoft officials in a blog post.

Gen2 also brings "limitless storage" to customers, along with native integration with Azure Active Directory.

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Microsoft announced its initial plans for its Azure Data Lake Service in 2015. The first-generation Azure Data Lake was designed to work with HDInsight, Microsoft's Hadoop-onAzure service for Windows and Linux. The original underpinnings for Azure Data Lake came from Microsoft's internal "Cosmos" big-data storage and analytics service.

Microsoft also announced today general availability of several new features for Azure Data Factory V2. Among those new features are support for control-flow data pipeline constructs; code-free data movement and orchestration designing; and flexible scheduling.

Azure Data Factory is a hybrid data integration (ETL) service.

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Microsoft officials also said today the company is adding two additional new Azure regions in China to the current two regions it offers there via a partnership with 21Vianet. I've asked where the new regions are; no word back yet.

Update (June 28): The two new regions are China North 2 in Beijing and China East 2 in Shanghai, according to TechCrunch.

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