Microsoft launches new database tools – The Seattle Times

Microsoft is rolling out new tools to entice businesses to store their data in the cloud, a bid to keep its units that sell on-demand processing power and data storage growing.

At its Build developer conference in Seattle on Wednesday, Microsoft launched a range of tools designed to make corporate database software, used to power everything from internal systems and records to public-facing websites, more smoothly integrate into the company’s Azure platform.

Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise Group and a longtime developer, introduced a database migration service, designed to smoothly convert data stored on companies’ own servers to Azure.

He also unveiled Azure Cosmos DB, a cloud-based database tool that Microsoft says can sort and organize business data around the world quickly.

The announcements are part of the latest Microsoft salvo aimed at Oracle, one of Microsoft’s rivals in selling business software.

A year ago, Microsoft said it would bring SQL Server, the company’s popular database software, to the Linux operating system, a bid to go after a corner of the market dominated by Oracle and IBM. Previously, SQL Server had been available only on Windows.

Oracle is the largest seller of such database software. The company was slower than Microsoft to embrace cloud-computing, analysts say, but has recently been on a public relations and engineering push to build tools that work well in the cloud.

Cosmos DB, Microsoft says, comes with a pledge for consistency and reliability, a guarantee that a database supported by Microsoft servers in the U.S. will run the same, and in sync, when powered by one of the company’s data centers in Japan, for example.

Jet.com — the e-commerce company and Amazon.com rival owned by Wal-Mart — uses the database to power internet transactions, Guthrie said. The company, which runs its entire web infrastructure on Azure, used the database tool to make 100 trillion queries during the Black Friday shopping rush, he said.

Cloud-computing providers like Microsoft and Amazon often use examples like Black Friday to pitch their services. Sudden changes in the use of company websites can overwhelm the corporate-owned servers that power them, a problem Microsoft says is eased by the company’s superior capacity provided by its global network of data centers.

Cosmos DB is available starting Wednesday. The database migration services are available in preview versions.

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