Given how Azure is helping to lift Microsoft's bottom line, it's no wonder Microsoft is updating its cloud services and software lineup at a dizzying pace. Among several new announcements, the company said today that Azure SQL database and data warehouse customers are no longer required to switch to a separate tool to access and query their databases.
Azure Portal's new in-browser Query Editor tool enables users to write queries, execute T-SQL (Transact-SQL) scripts and manage query results. "Many common queries can be run in this editor, such as create new table, display table data, edit table data, create a stored procedure or drop table," explained Microsoft Azure SQL program manager Ninar Nuemah, in a Jan. 30 announcement.
"You have the flexibility to execute partial queries or batch queries in this editor," she continued. "And by utilizing syntax highlighting and error indicating, this editor makes writing scripts a breeze." Users can find the Query Editor, which is currently in preview, under the Tools menu of a selected database or data warehouse.
In a bid to help make it easier for customers to load data into their Azure SQL data warehouses using the PolyBase functionality in SQL, the company expanded support for UTF-16 encoded delimited text files. Previously, users were forced to reencode their files into UTF-8 format, a time-consuming process that involved duplicating data.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's customers in Germany can now access a handful of new services directly from the company's cloud data centers in that country.
German users can now deploy the company's HDInsight on Linux big data service, along with Power BI, Cool Blob Storage and Mobile Apps for Azure App Service, with the assurance that their cloud workloads adhere to Germany's strict data residency and privacy regulations. The move comes days after the company announced that its data modeling service, Azure Analysis Service, is now available via Microsoft's data centers in Brazil and Illinois.
Additionally, the company announced that Microsoft Azure Germany is now ISO/IEC 27001- and ISO/IEC 27018- certified.
ISO/IEC 27001 is an information security management standard that specifies how sensitive information is kept secure by implementing a risk management process that encompasses processes, people and IT systems.
ISO/IEC 27018 is a code of practice that "is based on EU data-protection laws, and provides specific guidance to cloud service providers (CSPs) acting as processors of personally identifiable information (PII) on assessing risks and implementing state-of-the-art controls for protecting PII data," noted John Bruno Senior, director of Microsoft Azure, in a blog post.
Also on Jan. 30, Microsoft announced that it had partnered with Tierion, a blockchain verification software maker, to create a service that generates, validates and manages identity-signed data, or attestations.
The companies expect the collaboration to yield a decentralized, tamper-proof identity system that can be used to securely sign agreements, claims or data. More information on the initiative and its aims are available in this blog post.