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Azure Gets Search and DocumentDB Upgrades

Although Microsoft Azure was only founded in 2010, it’s already undergone a great deal of changes and updates as a means of bolstering its usability. The latest upgrades, Azure Search and Azure DocumentDB, opens up the popular cloud computing platform to search-as-a-service functionality as well as the ability to store and query mobile or web-based application data. While preview versions of these features have been available for quite some time now, they have only recently gone live.

Azure Search

Microsoft’s Azure Search functionality simplifies the process of integrating search capabilities into your website or application. Utilizing the Microsoft natural language stack, which has been used in both Bing and Office, end-users will be able to benefit from search suggestions, spelling autocorrect, multiple languages and more. Azure Search effectively eliminates the need of developing and managing your own search index, which greatly reduces the overall workload of your IT staff members.

Furthermore, the Azure Search team utilized chaos engineering, a term coined by the developers at Netflix, in order to facilitate large-scale and comprehensive testing of the search protocol prior to its public release. This allowed them to initiate true-to-life system and component failures in order to ensure the reliability and effectiveness of their tests.

Shane Sullivan, director of software engineering with autoTRADER.ca, explained how Azure Search has already helped his company to cater to their ever-growing customer base. He was quoted as saying: “The way people access online services has changed. Half of our users access our marketplace through mobile devices. Our mobile apps have been downloaded more than 2 million times. These users want information faster than ever; they expect real-time experiences. Azure Search provides a scalable solution that can keep ahead of our explosive growth.”

Azure DocumentDB

Included in the unveiling of Azure Search is Azure’s new DocumentDB functionality, which provides a NoSQL-oriented database that is meant to hold data via the JSON format. As expected, the data can then be accessed through an SQL-based query. This effectively gives users the ability to query information from mobile or web-based sources without having to deal with application and database mismatches. Azure’s DocumentDB protocol is also easily scalable and configurable.

John Macintyre, director or program management with Microsoft’s DocumentDB, explained the purpose behind the new functionality. He wrote in the official blog: “We built DocumentDB in response to the increasing demands of mobile first, cloud first application development. NoSQL databases are becoming the tool of choice for many developers however running and managing these databases can be complicated and costly, especially at scale. DocumentDB is delivered as a fully managed database-as-a-service (DBaaS) with built in high availability, SQL query over indexed JSON and multi-document transaction processing.”

Availability

Microsoft’s Azure Search and Azure DocumentDB functionality were made available to the public in May 2015. Pricing and fees vary greatly, though detailed pricing plans can be found on the official Microsoft Azure website at azure.microsoft.com. Additional information, including details on Microsoft Azure, partnership information, technical support and even the latest news releases, can also be found on the official website.

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