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


The Azure Cosmos DB DocumentDB API or SQL (DocumentDB) API is now known as Azure Cosmos DB SQL API. You don't need to change anything to continue running your apps built with DocumentDB API. The functionality remains the same.

Azure Cosmos DB is Microsoft’s globally distributed multi-model database service. Using Azure Cosmos DB, you can quickly create and query managed document, table, and graph databases.

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 SQL 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 programmatically, whichever is your preference.


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

Alternatively, you can Try Azure Cosmos DB for free without an Azure subscription, free of charge and commitments. Or you can use the Azure Cosmos DB Emulator for this tutorial with a URI of https://localhost:8081 and the following key:


In addition:

  • 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.

Create a database account

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

  1. In a new browser window, sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Click Create a resource > Databases > Azure Cosmos DB.

    The Azure portal Databases pane

  3. In the New account page, enter the settings for the new Azure Cosmos DB account.

    Setting Suggested value Description
    ID Enter a unique name Enter a unique name to identify 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 The API determines the type of account to create. Azure Cosmos DB provides five APIs to suits the needs of your application: SQL (document database), Gremlin (graph database), MongoDB (document database), Azure Table, and Cassandra, each which currently require a separate account.

    Select SQL because in this quickstart you are creating a document database that is queryable using SQL syntax and accessible with the SQL API.

    Learn more about the SQL API
    Subscription Your subscription Select Azure subscription that you want to use for this Azure Cosmos DB account.
    Resource Group Create new

    Then enter the same unique name as provided above in ID
    Select Create New, then enter a new resource-group name for your account. For simplicity, you can use the same name as your ID.
    Location Select the region closest to your users Select geographic location in which to host your Azure Cosmos DB account. Use the location that's closest to your users to give them the fastest access to the data.
    Enable geo-redundancy Leave blank This creates a replicated version of your database in a second (paired) region. Leave this blank.
    Pin to dashboard Select Select this box so that your new database account is added to your portal dashboard for easy access.

    Then click Create.

    The new account page for Azure Cosmos DB

  4. The account creation takes a few minutes. During account creation the portal displays the Deploying Azure Cosmos DB tile on the right side, you may need to scroll right on your dashboard to see the tile. There is also a progress bar displayed near the top of the screen. You can watch either area for progress.

    The Azure portal Notifications pane

    Once the account is created, the Congratulations! Your Azure Cosmos DB account was created page is displayed.

Add a collection

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

  1. Click Data Explorer > New Collection.

    The Add Collection area is displayed on the far right, you may need to scroll right to see it.

    The Azure portal Data Explorer, Add Collection blade

  2. In the Add collection page, enter the settings for the new collection.

    Setting Suggested value Description
    Database id Tasks Enter Tasks as the name for the new database. Database names must contain from 1 through 255 characters, and they cannot contain /, \, #, ?, or a trailing space.
    Collection id Items Enter Items as the name for your new collection. Collection ids have the same character requirements as database names.
    Storage capacity Fixed (10 GB) Change the value to Fixed (10 GB). This value is the storage capacity of the database.
    Throughput 400 RU Change the throughput to 400 request units per second (RU/s). Storage capacity must be set to Fixed (10 GB) in order to set throughput to 400 RU/s. If you want to reduce latency, you can scale up the throughput later.

    Click OK.

    Data Explorer displays the new database and collection.

    The Azure portal Data Explorer, showing the new database and collection

Add sample data

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

  1. Expand the Items collection, click Documents > New Document.

    Create new documents in Data Explorer in the Azure portal

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

        "id": "1",
        "category": "personal",
        "name": "groceries",
        "description": "Pick up apples and strawberries.",
        "isComplete": false

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

  3. Create and save one more document where you change id to 2, 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.

Query your data

You can now use queries in Data Explorer to retrieve and filter your data.

  1. See that by default, the query is set to SELECT * FROM c. This default query retrieves and displays all documents in the collection.

    Default query in Data Explorer is `SELECT * FROM c`

  2. Change the query by clicking the Edit Filter button, adding ORDER BY c._ts DESC to the query predicate box, and then clicking Apply Filter.

    Change the default query by adding ORDER BY c._ts DESC and clicking Apply Filter

This modified query lists the documents in descending order based on their time stamp, so now your second document is listed first. If you're familiar with SQL syntax, you can enter any of the supported SQL queries in this box.

That completes our work in Data Explorer. Before we move on to working with code, note that 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 SQL API app from GitHub, set the connection string, and run it. You'll see how easy it is to work with data programmatically.

  1. Open a command prompt, create a new folder named git-samples, then close the command prompt.

    md "C:\git-samples"
  2. Open a git terminal window, such as git bash, and use the cd command to change to the new folder to install the sample app.

    cd "C:\git-samples"
  3. Run the following command to clone the sample repository. This command creates a copy of the sample app on your computer.

    git clone

Review the code

This step is optional. If you're interested in learning how the database resources are created in the code, you can review the following snippets. The snippets are all taken from the file installed in the C:\git-samples\azure-cosmos-db-documentdb-java-getting-started\src\GetStarted folder. Otherwise, you can skip ahead to Update your connection string.

  • DocumentClient initialization. The DocumentClient provides client-side logical representation for the Azure Cosmos DB database service. This client is used to configure and execute requests against the service.

    this.client = new DocumentClient("",
            new ConnectionPolicy(),
  • Database creation.

    Database database = new Database();
    this.client.createDatabase(database, null);
  • DocumentCollection creation.

    DocumentCollection collectionInfo = new DocumentCollection();
    this.client.createCollection(databaseLink, collectionInfo, requestOptions);
  • Document creation by using the createDocument method.

    // 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);
  • SQL queries over JSON are performed using the queryDocuments method.

    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 enables your app to communicate with your hosted database.

  1. In the Azure portal, click Keys.

    Use the copy buttons on the right side of the screen to copy the top value, the URI.

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

  2. Open the file from C:\git-samples\azure-cosmos-db-documentdb-java-getting-started\src\GetStarted folder.

  3. Paste the URI value from the portal over on line 45.

  4. Go back to portal and copy the PRIMARY KEY value as shown in the screenshot. Paste the PRIMARY KEY value from the portal over FILLME on line 46.

    The getStartedDemo method should now look similar to this:

    private void getStartedDemo() throws DocumentClientException, IOException {
        this.client = new DocumentClient("",
                new ConnectionPolicy(),
  5. Save the file.

Run the app

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

    cd "C:\git-samples\azure-cosmos-db-documentdb-java-getting-started"
  2. In the git terminal window, use the following command to install the required Java packages.

    mvn package
  3. In the git terminal window, use the following command to start the Java application.

    mvn exec:java -D exec.mainClass=GetStarted.Program

    The terminal window displays a notification that the FamilyDB database was created.

  4. Press a key to create the collection.

  5. Switch back to the Data Explorer and you'll see that it now contains a FamilyDB database.

  6. Continue to press keys in the console window to have the code create documents and perform a query.

    At the end of the program, all the resources from this app are deleted from your account so that you don't incur any charges.

    Console output

Review SLAs in the Azure portal

The throughput, storage, availability, latency, and consistency of the resources in your account are monitored in the Azure portal. Let's take a quick look at these metrics.

  1. Click Metrics in the navigation menu.

    Metrics in the Azure portal

  2. Click through each of the tabs so you're aware of the metrics Azure Cosmos DB provides.

    Each chart that's associated with the Azure Cosmos DB Service Level Agreements (SLAs) provides a line that shows if any of the SLAs have been violated. Azure Cosmos DB makes monitoring your SLAs transparent with this suite of metrics.

    Azure Cosmos DB metrics suite

Clean up resources

If you're not going to continue to use this app, delete all resources created by this quickstart with the following steps so you don't incur any charges:

  1. In the Azure portal, select Resource groups on the far left.

    Metrics in the Azure portal

  2. From the list of resource groups, select the resource group you created, and then click Delete resource group.

  3. Type the name of the resource group to delete, 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 into your Azure Cosmos DB collection.