Analytics Platform System (APS) AU3 released

The Analytics Platform System (APS), which is a renaming of the Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW), has just released an appliance update (AU3), which is sort of like a service pack, except that it includes many new features.  These appliance updates are made available frequently, about every 3-4 months.  Below is what is new in this release:

TSQL compatibility improvements to reduce migration friction from SQL SMP

  • Implements TRY/CATCH block and THROW/RAISERROR/PRINT statements
  • Implements error diagnostic intrinsic functions ERROR_NUMBER, ERROR_MESSAGE, ERROR_SEVERITY, ERROR_STATE, and ERROR_PROCEDURE
  • Implements global variable @@ERROR
  • Implements Transction-state function XACT_STATE
  • Implements system message storage sys.messages DMV
  • Implements Stored Procedures sp_addmessage, sp_altermessage, and sp_dropmessage
  • Implements support for intersect and except queries.

Integrated Azure Data Management Gateway enables Query from Cloud to On Prem through APS

  • Enables Azure users to access on-premises data sources via APS by exposing data as secure OData feeds.
  • Enables PowerBI (including Power Query, Power Maps and Power Q&A) to use on-prem data from PDW and external Hadoop tables.
  • Enables Azure cloud service data mashups to be scaled out via Polybase by querying Hadoop on-premises.
  • Creates a scalable, enterprise-class Data Management Gateway that scales out as queries access more on-prem data sources.

Polybase Recursive Directory Traversal and ORCFile support

  • Enables users to retrieve the content of all subfolders by pointing one single external table to the parent folder. Removes the burden of creating external tables for each subfolders.
  • Enables all Polybase scenarios to run against the file format ORCFiles

Install, Upgrade, and Servicing Improvements

  • Improves operational uptime in maintenance windows by improving our Active Directory reliability model.
  • Reduces end-to-end install time from 9 hours to less than 8 hours.
  • Improves resiliency by reducing issues related to AD VM corruptions, 2-way forest trusts, and CSV/cluster failures.
  • Improves upgrade and setup stability and reliability.

Replatformed to Windows Server 2012 R2 as the core OS for all appliances nodes

  • Enhances stability with fixes and improvements to core fabric systems such as Active Directory, Hyper-V and Storage Spaces, including:
    • Automatically rebuilding of storage spaces
    • Safer virtualization of Active Directory domain controllers.

Replatformed to SQL Server 2014

  • Improves engineering efficiency by moving APS and SQL Server to a common servicing branch, reducing latency in getting bug fixes and support.

More info:

Relational Data Warehouse + Big Data Analytics: Analytics Platform System (APS) Appliance Update 3

Analytics Platform System Appliance Update 3 Documentation and Client Tools

About James Serra

James is a big data and data warehousing solution architect at Microsoft. Previously he was an independent consultant working as a Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence architect and developer. He is a prior SQL Server MVP with over 25 years of IT experience.
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