Initial Thoughts on Azure DocumentDB
Earlier today the Azure team at Microsoft announced a great new service that’s now available in public preview - Azure DocumentDB. Essentially DocumentDB is a completely managed document database (think MongoDB, RavenDB, etc.) built on top of the Azure cloud platform. It brings a lot of cool features that I’ve seen in other leading document databases such as automatic index creation and native JSON support.
There seems to already be some confusion as to what DocumentDB brings to the table that Azure Table Storage does not. After all, Microsoft has touted Table Storage as their PaaS NoSQL offering since its inception a few years ago. If that’s the case, why build an entirely new NoSQL offering? The difference is in the nature of the two NoSQL services. In general, NoSQL databases can be broken down into two distinct categories: document databases and key-value stores. Popular document databases include MongoDB and RavenDB. Redis is probably the most popular key-value store database. With this distinction in mind, I think it’s fair to say that Azure DocumentDB is to Azure Table Storage as MongoDB is to Redis.
Azure DocumentDB is just one of the PaaS offerings that Microsoft announced today. Microsoft also announced Azure Search which is a fully managed full-text search platform designed to scale to hundreds of terabytes of content. Both of these services bear striking resemblances to services that are currently offered by Amazon Web Services, most notably DynamoDB and Elastisearch. This “cloud race” between Microsoft and Amazon is a great thing for IT departments all over the world. Both of these companies are driving each other not only to release competing products but to innovate at an intense pace. What’s even more interesting is that both of these providers are “leveling up” and providing essentially the same logical services. By doing so they are making it easier to build applications that are portable from platform to platform through the use of open source frameworks like Mantle.
I am very excited about what’s coming down the pipeline for the Azure platform. Initially, Azure launched as the “platform” provider and AWS launched as the “infrastructure” provider but those lines are rapidly starting to blur.
- DocumentDB: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/documentdb
- Azure Search: http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/search
- Mantle: http://github.com/caseywatson/mantle