This week I noticed a number of changes in the Azure platform from their change feed. Actually, every week has a crazy number of changes across the entire platform, but this week a number of these were related to data and databases. That isn't always the case, but I saw some interesting items.
We have zone redundancy for the general purpose tier of Azure SQL database, as well as AAD security principals in the master database and a new DMV for backups. I think Azure SQL Database is a great product, though one that has felt quite limited at times. The use of DTUs at first, the high pause period for Serverless and limited options at lower tiers were always annoying.
The point at times seemed to be to get customers to place a big financial bet that a higher tier would meet their needs. I had hoped that some of that was just a blip in time as technology improved and more features would be deployed to all tiers. After all, the original Azure SQL database was a key-value store.
That seems to be coming true as I continue to see improvements to the offerings. Azure SQL Serverless now has a 1 hour pause period minimum instead of the original 6 hour time. Now Cosmos DB has also lowered their autoscale offering. Cosmos DB can be provisioned at a lower entry point for autoscale, at 100RU/s instead of 400RU/s, which might get more people to experiment with a PoC over a bit of time and use the database. I know I'm thinking of trying to mess with some data on the platform. I don't think I'd need 100 RU/s, much less 400, but I can better live the cost for a few months.
Hyperscale has been an interesting version of Azure SQL Database. I know quite a few customers that aren't sure if they need it, but they considered experimenting with it. The problem was that once you choose Hyperscale, you can't go back to another tier. That's quite a disincentive to experimentation, which seems to be part of the philosophy of choosing the cloud. There is now a preview of the migration of Hyperscale back to the general purpose tier. I'm guessing it took a little time for the Azure team to implement this, which is why there was a restriction, but it looks like that limit will go away.
The cloud is an amazing place, as I've written before. It enables things to happen at a pace, and with ease that I've never seen in a data center without a lot of prep work. This week it seems that the Azure cloud advanced quite a bit in the area that I care about, the data platform space.
There was also the general availability release of the Azure SQL Migration extension for ADS.