Jumping into the growing NoSQL market, Microsoft has debuted a simple data store through the Azure cloud hosting service.
The document database is well suited for organizations or startups that need a back-end database for storing data on a mobile or Web application, according to Vibhor Kapoor, Microsoft Azure product marketing manager, who introduced the service in a blog post Thursday.
The Azure DocumentDB service, now in preview, is the first NoSQL-styled document database from Microsoft. Azure also offers a number of other NoSQL databases from other vendors, including those from MongoDB, MongoLabs, Nodejitsu, Redis and RavenHQ.
In addition to providing basic document storage capabilities, the service also offers query processing and transaction semantics, two features usually found in relational database systems.
A number of NoSQL databases have sprung up over the past decade to address the need of storing and accessing large amounts of information very quickly, sometimes across multiple servers. Traditional SQL databases have been hard-pressed to scale to the sizes typically required for such work.
Microsoft also announced a number of other initiatives around its cloud service. It is offering the Bing search as a service that can be embedded within third-party applications. Apache HBase database software is now available within Azure's Hadoop service. And Azure now offers over 300 virtual machine images pre-configured for a variety of tasks.