Azure Cosmos DB: Create a document database using Java and the Azure portal

Azure Cosmos DB is Microsoft’s globally distributed multi-model database service. You can quickly create and query document, key/value, and graph databases, all of which benefit from the global distribution and horizontal scale capabilities at the core of Azure Cosmos DB.

This quickstart creates a document database using the Azure portal tools for Azure Cosmos DB. This quickstart also shows you how to quickly create a Java console app using the DocumentDB Java API. The instructions in this quickstart can be followed on any operating system that is capable of running Java. By completing this quickstart you'll be familiar with creating and modifying document database resources in either the UI or programatically, whichever is your preference.


  • Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.7+
    • On Ubuntu, run apt-get install default-jdk to install the JDK.
    • Be sure to set the JAVA_HOME environment variable to point to the folder where the JDK is installed.
  • Download and install a Maven binary archive
    • On Ubuntu, you can run apt-get install maven to install Maven.
  • Git
    • On Ubuntu, you can run sudo apt-get install git to install Git.

If you don't have an Azure subscription, create a free account before you begin.

Alternatively, you can create a Try Azure Cosmos DB subscription, or you can use the Azure Cosmos DB Emulator for this tutorial with a URI of https://localhost:8081 and a key of


Create a database account

Before you can create a document database, you need to create a SQL (DocumentDB) database account with Azure Cosmos DB.

  1. In a new window, sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. In the left pane, click New, click Databases, and then under Azure Cosmos DB, click Create.

    The Azure portal Databases pane

  3. On the New account blade, specify the configuration that you want for this Azure Cosmos DB account.

    With Azure Cosmos DB, you can choose one of four programming models: Gremlin (graph), MongoDB, SQL (DocumentDB), and Table (key-value), each which currently require a separate account.

    In this quick-start article we program against the DocumentDB API, so choose SQL (DocumentDB) as you fill out the form. If you have graph data for a social media app, or key/value (table) data, or data migrated from a MongoDB app, realize that Azure Cosmos DB can provide a highly available, globally distributed database service platform for all your mission-critical applications.

    Complete the fields on the New account blade, using the information in the following screenshot as a guide- your values may be different than the values in the screenshot.

    The new account blade for Azure Cosmos DB

    Setting Suggested value Description
    ID Unique value A unique name that identifies this Azure Cosmos DB account. Because is appended to the ID that you provide to create your URI, use a unique but identifiable ID. The ID can contain only lowercase letters, numbers, and the hyphen (-) character, and it must contain 3 to 50 characters.
    API SQL (DocumentDB) We program against the DocumentDB API later in this article.
    Subscription Your subscription The Azure subscription that you want to use for this Azure Cosmos DB account.
    Resource Group The same value as ID The new resource-group name for your account. For simplicity, you can use the same name as your ID.
    Location The region closest to your users The geographic location in which to host your Azure Cosmos DB account. Choose the location that's closest to your users to give them the fastest access to the data.
  4. Click Create to create the account.
  5. On the top toolbar, click the Notifications icon The notification icon to monitor the deployment process.

    The Azure portal Notifications pane

  6. When the Notifications window indicates the deployment succeeded, close the notification window and open the new account from the All Resources tile on the Dashboard.

    The Azure Cosmos DB account on the All Resources tile

Add a collection

You can now use the Data Explorer tool in the Azure portal to create a database and collection.

  1. In the Azure portal, in the left navigation menu, click Data Explorer (Preview).

  2. On the Data Explorer (Preview) blade, click New Collection, and then provide the following information:

    The Azure portal Data Explorer blade

    Setting Suggested value Description
    Database id Tasks The name for your new database. Database names must contain from 1 through 255 characters, and they cannot contain /, \, #, ?, or a trailing space.
    Collection id Items The name for your new collection. Collection names have the same character requirements as database IDs.
    Storage capacity Fixed (10 GB) Use the default value. This value is the storage capacity of the database.
    Throughput 400 RU Use the default value. If you want to reduce latency, you can scale up the throughput later.
    Partition key /category A partition key that distributes data evenly to each partition. Selecting the correct partition key is important in creating a performant collection. To learn more, see Designing for partitioning.
  3. After you've completed the form, click OK.

Data Explorer shows the new Database and collection.

Add sample data

You can now add data to your new collection using Data Explorer.

  1. In Data Explorer, the new database appears in the Collections pane. Expand the Tasks database, expand the Items collection, click Documents, and then click New Documents.

    Create new documents in Data Explorer in the Azure portal

  2. Now add a document to the collection with the following structure.

        "id": "1",
        "category": "personal",
        "name": "groceries",
        "description": "Pick up apples and strawberries.",
        "isComplete": false
  3. Once you've added the json to the Documents tab, click Save.

    Copy in json data and click Save in Data Explorer in the Azure portal

  4. Create and save one more document where you insert a unique value for the id property, and change the other properties as you see fit. Your new documents can have any structure you want as Azure Cosmos DB doesn't impose any schema on your data.

    You can now use queries in Data Explorer to retrieve your data by clicking the Edit Filter and Apply Filter buttons. By default, Data Explorer uses SELECT * FROM c to retrieve all documents in the collection, but you can change that to a different SQL query, such as SELECT * FROM c ORDER BY c._ts DESC, to return all the documents in descending order based on their timestamp.

    You can also use Data Explorer to create stored procedures, UDFs, and triggers to perform server-side business logic as well as scale throughput. Data Explorer exposes all of the built-in programmatic data access available in the APIs, but provides easy access to your data in the Azure portal.

Clone the sample application

Now let's switch to working with code. Let's clone a DocumentDB API app from GitHub, set the connection string, and run it. You see how easy it is to work with data programmatically.

  1. Open a git terminal window, such as git bash, and CD to a working directory.

  2. Run the following command to clone the sample repository.

    git clone

Review the code

Let's make a quick review of what's happening in the app. Open the file from the \src\GetStarted folder, and find these lines of code that create the Azure Cosmos DB resources.

  • The DocumentClient is initialized.

    this.client = new DocumentClient("",
            new ConnectionPolicy(),
  • A new database is created.

    Database database = new Database();
    this.client.createDatabase(database, null);
  • A new collection is created.

    DocumentCollection collectionInfo = new DocumentCollection();
    this.client.createCollection(databaseLink, collectionInfo, requestOptions);
  • Some documents are created.

    // Any Java object within your code can be serialized into JSON and written to Azure Cosmos DB
    Family andersenFamily = new Family();
    // More properties
    String collectionLink = String.format("/dbs/%s/colls/%s", databaseName, collectionName);
    this.client.createDocument(collectionLink, family, new RequestOptions(), true);
  • A SQL query over JSON is performed.

    FeedOptions queryOptions = new FeedOptions();
    String collectionLink = String.format("/dbs/%s/colls/%s", databaseName, collectionName);
    FeedResponse<Document> queryResults = this.client.queryDocuments(
        "SELECT * FROM Family WHERE Family.lastName = 'Andersen'", queryOptions);
    System.out.println("Running SQL query...");
    for (Document family : queryResults.getQueryIterable()) {
        System.out.println(String.format("\tRead %s", family));

Update your connection string

Now go back to the Azure portal to get your connection string information and copy it into the app. This will enable your app to communicate with your hosted database.

  1. In the Azure portal, in your Azure Cosmos DB account, in the left navigation click Keys, and then click Read-write Keys. You'll use the copy buttons on the right side of the screen to copy the URI and PRIMARY KEY into the file in the next step.

    View and copy an access key in the Azure portal, Keys blade

  2. In the open file, copy your URI value from the portal (using the copy button) and make it the value of the endpoint to the DocumentClient constructor in


  3. Then copy your PRIMARY KEY value from the portal and paste it over “FILLME”, making it the second parameter in the DocumentClient constructor. You've now updated your app with all the info it needs to communicate with Azure Cosmos DB.

Run the app

  1. In the git terminal window, cd to the azure-cosmos-db-documentdb-java-getting-started folder.

  2. In the git terminal window, type mvn package to install the required Java packages.

  3. In the git terminal window, run mvn exec:java -D exec.mainClass=GetStarted.Program in the terminal window to start your Java application.

    In the terminal window, you'll receive notification that the FamilyDB database was created, and to press a key to continue. Press a key to create the database, then switch to the Data Explorer and you'll see that it now contains a FamilyDB database. Continue to press keys to create the collection and the documents and then perform a query. When the project completes, the resources are deleted from your account.

    View and copy an access key in the Azure portal, Keys blade

Review SLAs in the Azure portal

Now that your app is up and running, you'll want to ensure business continuity and watch user access to ensure high availability. You can use the Azure portal to review the availability, latency, throughput, and consistency of your collection.

Each graph that's associated with the Azure Cosmos DB Service Level Agreements (SLAs) provides a line that shows the quota required to meet the SLA and your actual usage. This information gives you a clear view into your database performance. Additional metrics, such as storage usage and number of requests per minute, are also included in the portal.

  • In the Azure portal, in the pane on the left, under Monitoring, select Metrics.

    Todo app with sample data

Clean up resources

If you're not going to continue to use this app, delete all resources created by this quickstart in the Azure portal with the following steps:

  1. From the left-hand menu in the Azure portal, click Resource groups and then click the name of the resource you created.
  2. On your resource group page, click Delete, type the name of the resource to delete in the text box, and then click Delete.

Next steps

In this quickstart, you've learned how to create an Azure Cosmos DB account, document database, and collection using the Data Explorer, and run an app to do the same thing programmatically. You can now import additional data to your Cosmos DB account.