Azure DocumentDB is a NoSQL document database that uses the JSON data format for storing and querying documents. Being a feature of Microsoft Azure, DocumentDB offers a nice NoSQL database using JSON documents that includes all of the benefits of Microsoft Azure and the cloud.

UPDATE: Microsoft has rebranded DocumentDB to Cosmos DB, and they have expanded the service out to have MANY more features.

Here’s a list of some of the key features DocumentDB offers:

  • PaaS and Scalability
  • Schema-free JSON documents
  • SQL language queries

Platform as a Service and Scalability

The Microsoft Azure cloud is full of many PaaS features that abstract away many of the pains of server and software maintenance. DocumentDB is yet another feature of Microsoft Azure that grants all of the PaaS benefits thus allowing you to focus on your application, your data and all the things your business does.

DocumentDB is a fully managed, NoSQL database that can be easily scaled out to meet your data, your application, and your business needs.This allows for your DocumentDB database to grow as your application and data storage needs grow in an affordable manner for your business.

Schema-Free JSON Documents

The format for storing data within DocumentDB is JSON. This provides a ubiquitous, lightweight data format that is also supported across a wide range of platforms, including web and mobile.

The data format is also Schema-free so that the data your application stores can change as your application and business requirements change. This keeps the entire database from needing to be refactored when a change is made, in addition to the ability to keep the application up and running when deploying what would be a breaking change to a traditional RDMS database.


The Schema-Free JSON document format is lightweight, flexible, and supported across platforms.

SQL Language Queries

DocumentDB allows for the JSON documents to be queried using the SQL language syntax. This allows for a familiar language syntax to be used for queries, since most developers are already familiar with using the SQL language to query traditional RDMS databases.


To get a better feel for the SQL syntax the DocumentDB Query Playground provides a simple testing area where you can practice and learn how to query DocumentDB with test data included.

Microsoft MVP

Chris Pietschmann is a Microsoft MVP, HashiCorp Ambassador, and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with 20+ years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He has worked with companies of all sizes from startups to large enterprises. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.
HashiCorp Ambassador Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect