Microsoft Azure data warehouse

Enhance your Data Warehousing Experience with Azure Data Warehousing

The growth in demand for data analytics has created a need for technology to process the large quantum of data. The processing of data also needs to be done on time. Microsoft launched Azure data warehouse to fulfill the need to process data with scalability, elasticity, etc.

What is Azure data warehouse?

Azure SQL Data warehouse is an SQL based cloud data warehouse that is capable of processing large volumes of data. It can process large amounts of data because it is capable of parallel processing. Azure SQL data warehouse is a distributed database management system. It is an elastic system with enterprise class features. It has helped overcome the shortcomings of traditional data warehousing systems.

What were the concerns in traditional data warehousing?

Traditional data warehouses comprised a Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) machines. These had two or more identical processors. These are connected to a single shared memory having complete access to all I/O devices. These are controlled by a single Operating system that treats all processors equally. But business demands have increased multifold in the recent years. Hence, there is a need for scalability and enhanced performance.

How does Azure data warehousing help overcome the drawbacks?

Azure SQL data warehouse overcomes this through shared nothing architecture. When data is stored in Azure data warehouse, it gets distributed and stored across multiple locations. Each location is capable of storing and processing data independently. This makes it possible to process large volumes of data parallel.


Features of Azure data warehouse:

  1. It is a combination of SQL server relational database and Azure cloud scale-out capabilities.
  2. It separates storage from computing.
  3. It has the ability to increase, decrease, pause and resume computations.
  4. There is integration across the Azure platform.
  5. T-SQL (SQL server transact) and tools are utilized.
  6. It is compliant with various legal and business security requirements.


Structure and functioning of Azure data warehouse:

  • It is a distributed database system that is capable of shared nothing architecture.
  • The data is spread across many shared, storage and processing units.
  • Data storage is a premium locally redundant storage layer.
  • On top of this layer are the compute nodes that execute queries.
  • The Control node receives multiple requests. They are then optimized for distribution and then allocated to different compute nodes to work parallel.


Let us now understand the different components in Azure data warehousing and how they function:

  • Control Node: All applications and connections interact with the front end of the system which is the Control node. The control node coordinates the data movement and computations needed for running parallel queries. This is done by transforming individual queries to run in parallel on different Compute nodes.
  • Compute Node: The query that is passed on to compute nodes is stored and processed. There are multiple Compute nodes where queries are processed parallel. After the processing is complete, the results are passed back to the Control node. Here the results are aggregated, and the final result is returned.
  • Storage: The data is stored Azure Blob storage. Compute nodes interact with data by reading and writing directly to and from blob storage. Azure data storage can expand vastly and transparently. Azure Blob storage is resistant to faults. It also streamlines the backup and restores process.
  • DMS: It is the Data Movement Service is a service provided by Windows that runs alongside SQL data base on all nodes. It is responsible for moving the data between nodes. It is an essential part of the entire process because it plays a vital role in the movement of data for parallel processing.


Azure data warehouse offers numerous benefits to its users:

1. Elasticity:

An Azure data warehouse is highly elastic. This is because computing and storage components are separated. Computing can be independently scaled. It allows addition and removal of resources even when the query is running.

2. Security:

Azure SQL has introduced a number of security components. Some of them are data masking, row-level security, Always Encrypted, auditing, etc. Considering that the Cloud data is vulnerable to breaches, security components help build the confidence of the users in the Azure data warehousing system.

3. V12 Portability:

Microsoft now provides tools which enable upgrading from SQL server to Azure SQL and vice-versa.

4. Scalability:

Azure offers many scaling options for users. The Azure data warehouse can scale in quick time as per the needs of the users.

5. Polybase:

It allows users to query across non-relational sources.



Microsoft has offered us Azure SQL data warehouse which can support petabytes of data which can be easily scaled up or down in seconds. It has also provided you a data warehouse with separate control and storage resources. This has improved the control while offering cost benefits. Microsoft has also made its use convenient by taking care of patching, upgrades, and maintenance while also providing fault tolerance and self-service restore.

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