Microsoft Adds New 'Premium RS' Cloud Database Option

The company introduces a new Azure SQL database service tier for customers seeking high performance but have lenient availability requirements.

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Microsoft is now offering Azure SQL database customers a new service tier called Premium RS, along with a no-cost storage upgrade on select plans.

"Premium RS is designed for your IO [input/output]-intensive workloads that need Premium performance but do not require the highest availability guarantees," explained Jan Engelsberg senior program manager of Microsoft, Azure SQL Database, in a March 8 blog post.

"This tier is ideal for workloads [that] can replay the data in case of a severe system error such as analytical workloads where the database is not [the] system of record."

The new tier is also suited for pre-production work on databases, including performance testing and developing for technologies like SQL's in-memory features, Engelsberg added.

Also new this week is the availability of up to 4 TB of storage in the Premium P11 and P15 plans at no extra cost. So far, the option is available in eight Azure regions, with worldwide availability to follow later this year.

This week's updates also include a streamlined Azure SQL configuration experience. In a new three-step process users can balance the price-performance characteristics of their cloud databases by selecting a service tier, Database Transaction Unit (DTU) limits, and finally, upper storage limits.

Over at Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Microsoft's elastic cloud data warehousing offering, the company announced it raised the PolyBase row width limitation, offering customers a more seamless data ingestion experience in some cases. PolyBase describes a technology used to combine non-relational and relational data.

"In the latest release of PolyBase in SQL DW [Azure SQL Data Warehouse], we have increased the row width limit to 1MB from 32KB. This will allow you to ingest your wide columns directly from Windows Azure Storage Blob or Azure Data Lake Store into SQL DW," wrote Casey Karst, a program manager at Microsoft SQL Server and Azure SQL Database, in a separate blog post.

To help customers get up to speed on Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Microsoft also announced a new online training program this week.

"We are pleased to announce that Azure SQL Data Warehouse training is now available online via the edX training portal," said Microsoft senior technical product marketing manager, Matt Goswell, in a March 6 announcement.

"In this computer science course, you will learn how to deploy, design, and load data using Microsoft's Azure SQL Data Warehouse, or SQL DW. You'll learn about data distribution, compressed in-memory indexes, PolyBase for Big Data, and elastic scale."

It's not the first time that Microsoft has turned to edX to help IT professionals brush up on their skills.

Last summer, the company launched its Microsoft Professional Degree program on the popular online education platform in a bid to help narrow the IT talent gap by focusing on today's in-demand skills. The program offers a Data Science Degree after students have learned data science essentials and how to use software tools to analyze and visualize data.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...