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Discover what’s new to Microsoft database services—recap from Microsoft Ignite

Posted on November 9, 2021

Director Program Management, Microsoft Azure

Whether it’s SQL Server, Azure SQL, open source, or NoSQL, Microsoft’s database services are here to help you build cloud-native applications or modernize existing applications with fully managed, flexible databases.

Last week at Microsoft Ignite, there were many announcements to help organizations regardless of where they are in their modernization journey. Our team is invested, and I want to share how these announcements are helping us reach every customer on the planet, modernize existing applications, and provide limitless database scale and performance for new applications.

Reach every customer on the planet

We announced the preview of SQL Server 2022, the most Azure-enabled SQL Server release yet. This enables easier cloud integration than ever before with new disaster recovery functionality for Azure SQL Managed Instance and seamless analytics over on-premises operational data with Synapse Link for SQL Server. We continue to enhance the database engine including new security capabilities like SQL Server Ledger, and built-in query intelligence with Query Store and the third generation of Intelligent Query Processing enhancements. Learn more in the SQL Server 2022 announcement blog.

In addition to announcing a new version of SQL Server, we have new capabilities in Azure Arc. With Azure Arc-enabled data services, including SQL Managed Instance and PostgreSQL Hyperscale, you can get evergreen, managed services anywhere you are. Last week, we announced the general availability of point-in-time-restore (PITR) and in-place upgrade for Azure Arc-enabled SQL Managed Instance. There’s also a new Microsoft Learn module if you’re new to running Azure services anywhere.

Modernize existing applications

Azure is the best destination for SQL Server, and more and more customers are running SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines. Recently, we’ve added new and improved SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines marketplace images. The new images have updated configurations to adhere to the latest best practices, along with a new deployment experience that allows you to customize settings, such as MAXDOP and collation, according to your needs. Even more, SQL Assessments have arrived in preview so you can keep your SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machine healthy. You can schedule assessments, run an assessment on-demand, and view assessment results directly from the SQL virtual machine blade in the Azure portal.

Azure SQL Managed Instance had several key announcements, including hardware offers with significantly more memory per vCore (up to 13.6 GB per vCore) and increased storage up to 16 TB in both the general purpose (general availability) and business critical (preview) service tiers, providing more room for app growth. Also, the new Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance enables SQL Server customers to use Azure SQL Managed Instance for disaster recovery and restore Azure SQL Managed Instance databases to SQL Server. Details about other highly anticipated capabilities that are now available like Windows (Kerberos) Authentication (limited preview), AAD only authentication, AAD authentication for Linked Server, BULK INSERT and BACKUP / RESTORE with Managed Identity credentials, distributed transactions between SQL Managed Instances, and much more.

When it comes to open source, Flexible Server, which is available for Azure Database for MySQL (now generally available) and for Azure Database for PostgreSQL (preview) is a new deployment option that is hosted using native Linux and designed to provide more granular control and flexibility. Flexible Server provides for maximum control of your databases, high availability options to ensure zero data loss, built-in capabilities for cost optimization, and increased productivity enabled by integrations with Azure ecosystem. Flexible Server also supports customer-requested capabilities like custom maintenance windows, zone redundant high availability, and cost optimization features like burstable compute, start stop and reserved instances. It’s no surprise that the customer adoption has been so strong. Learn more about Flexible Server and try it for free.

Last week, we also announced the general availability of Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra providing the ability to provision managed native Apache Cassandra clusters, with automated deployment and scaling operations, accelerating hybrid scenarios and reducing ongoing maintenance.

Provide limitless database scale and performance   

In the NoSQL space, Azure Cosmos DB is a fully managed NoSQL database built to support production applications at any size or scale. At Microsoft Ignite, we released many new capabilities such as partial document updates, provisioned throughput maximums, and cost-savings recommendations in Azure Advisor—all generally available. In addition, Azure Synapse Link custom partitioning, Cassandra API server-side retries, and a Logic App connector are now in preview. To learn about these updates and other updates, visit the Azure Cosmos DB blog.

Part of the Azure SQL family, Azure SQL Database is an intelligent and scalable relational database built for the cloud. With serverless compute and Hyperscale storage options that automatically scale resources on demand, we’re enabling you to focus on building applications. Last week, we released configurable differential backups as generally available and introduced memory grant feedback improvements in preview. For more details, see the Azure SQL Tech community.

Last but certainly not least, we announced the general availability of Postgres 14 on Azure’s Hyperscale (Citus) option. This may be the first time a major cloud provider has announced the general availability for a new Postgres major version on their platform one day after the official release. We also shipped the Citus 10.2 open source release and made it available in Hyperscale (Citus) in the Azure portal. Another key announcement is Azure Private Link support for Hyperscale (Citus) (preview): you can now connect your Hyperscale (Citus) nodes to the Azure virtual network securely and privately.

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If you missed any of the team’s sessions at Microsoft Ignite, you can watch them on-demand: