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Azure Cosmos DB

  • Globally distributed database that supports NoSQL.
  • A fully-managed database service with turnkey global distribution and transparent multi-master replication.


  • Cosmos DB offers encryption at rest.
  • It replicates every partition across all the regions.
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  • CosmosDB offers single-digit millisecond reads and writes in all regions.
  • Supports automatic failover during a regional outage.
  • Consistency Levels: Strong, Bounded Staleness, Session, Consistent Prefix, and Eventual
  • You can set either standard (manual) or autoscale provisioned throughput on your databases and containers.
  • Monitor both the provisioned autoscale max RU/s and the current throughput (RU/s) of the system with Azure Monitor metrics.

Consistency Levels

  • Strong – reads are guaranteed to return the most recent committed version of an item.
  • Bounded Staleness – is for low write latencies but requires a total global order guarantee.
  • Session – reads are guaranteed to honor the consistent-prefix, monotonic reads, monotonic writes, read-your-writes, and write-follows-reads guarantees.
  • Consistent Prefixupdates that are returned will contain some prefix of all the updates.
  • Eventualhas no ordering guarantee for reads.


  • Encryption at rest is applied automatically.
  • Uses AES-256 encryption in all regions.
  • You can use the keys that are managed by Microsoft or customer-managed keys.
  • Two types of keys to authenticate users:
    • Master Keys for administrative resources.
    • Resources Tokens for application resources.
  • Detect suspicious activities which indicate unusual and potentially harmful attempts to access or exploit databases with Advanced Threat Protection.


  • Elastically scale the provisioned throughput and storage for your databases according to your needs and only pay for the throughput and storage needed.
  • Cosmos DB throughput per second and request unit consumption varies by operation and JSON document.
  • Additional backup copies will be billed as total GBs of data stored (first two copies are free).
  • You provision the number of RUs for your application on a per-second basis in increments of 100 RUs per second. You are billed on an hourly basis.
  • With autoscale for containers, you pay per hour for the highest RU/s that the system scaled up to within the hour.

Azure SQL Database vs Cosmos DB:

Technical Overview and Unique Features of Azure Cosmos DB

Validate Your Knowledge

Question 1

Question Type: Multiple-choice

You are the Database Administrator of a media company. Your company requires to have a globally distributed, multi-model NoSQL database service that enables you to elastically and independently scale throughput and storage across any number of Azure regions worldwide.

What database service will you use?

  1. Azure Database MySQL Server
  2. Azure Cosmos DB
  3. Azure SQL Database
  4. Azure Database for PostgreSQL Server

Correct Answer: 2

Azure Cosmos DB is Microsoft’s globally distributed, multi-model database service. With a click of a button, Cosmos DB enables you to elastically and independently scale throughput and storage across any number of Azure regions worldwide. Cosmos DB provides comprehensive service level agreements (SLAs) for throughput, latency, availability, and consistency guarantees, something no other database service offers.

Cosmos DB enables you to build highly responsive and highly available applications worldwide. Cosmos DB transparently replicates your data wherever your users are, so your users can interact with a replica of the data that is closest to them.

Cosmos DB allows you to add or remove any of the Azure regions to your Cosmos account at any time, with a click of a button. Cosmos DB will seamlessly replicate your data to all the regions associated with your Cosmos account while your application continues to be highly available, thanks to the multi-homing capabilities of the service.

Hence, the correct answer is: Azure Cosmos DB.

Azure Database MySQL Server is incorrect because it’s a SQL Database. Azure Database for MySQL is a relational database service powered by the MySQL community edition. It’s a fully-managed database as a service offering that can handle mission-critical workloads with predictable performance and dynamic scalability.

Azure SQL Database is incorrect because this is Microsoft’s relational DBMS service. Just like Azure Database for MySQL Server, it is not a NoSQL database. Azure SQL Database is a fully managed platform as a service (PaaS) database engine that handles most of the database management functions such as upgrading, patching, backups, and monitoring without user involvement. Take note that the scenario is asking for a NoSQL database.

Azure Database for PostgreSQL Server is incorrect because it is a relational database service based on the open-source PostgreSQL database engine. It’s a fully managed database-as-a-service offering that can handle mission-critical workloads with predictable performance, security, high availability, and dynamic scalability.


Note: This question was extracted from our AZ-900 Microsoft Azure Fundamentals Practice Exams.

For more Azure practice exam questions with detailed explanations, check out the Tutorials Dojo Portal:

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