Microsoft has announced the Azure SQL Data Warehouse is open for business, at least for a lucky few customers.  The limited public preview is designed to for data warehouses in the 5-10TB range allowing Microsoft to test scalability and performance before taking on more heavy lifting.

The initial public preview is designed for data warehouses in the 5-10 TB range to give users the ability to start testing and providing feedback on the service. You can sign up now, and as we ramp the preview, new customers will be notified as they are accepted. — SQL Server Blog

The Azure SQL Data Warehouse service offers features that Microsoft is quick to point out aren’t being offered by competitors like Amazon Web Services.  These include full indexing, stored procedure/functions, partitions, and columnar indexing.  Another interesting feature is what they are calling “Elastic Pause” which basically shuts down the compute services to save money while keeping the data intact.

Customers can schedule pausing compute usage either through Azure SQL Data Warehouse or Azure Scheduler to optimize the cost of the service. — SQL Server Blog

dpi-jun24-1.jpg-550x0Azure SQL Data Warehouse also allows your datasets to be merged between your SQL Server data and Hadoop stores.

With Polybase, we offer the ability to combine data sets easily. SQL Data Warehouse can query semi-structured data stored in blob storage using familiar T-SQL, making it easy to gain insights from various data types.  — SQL Server Blog

For more information on Azure SQL Data Warehouse you can read the blog announcement or sign up for the limited preview here.