Cloud, Data and AI Announcements @ Ignite 2017


As always around this time of the year we hold our annual conferences Ignite and Envision.  This is typically the time to pay close attention as new announcements are plenty.  Let's walk through some of the most important announcements.

Data & AI

Machine Learning

Talking to data scientist has taught us that improvements to the end-to-end process of experimenting and deploying are much needed. Our new Azure Machine Learning offer will make data scientists more productive by introducing an IDE that will accelerate data preparation and allow you to take a DevOps type approach to data science.  Azure Machine Learning will support develop once and deploy everywhere, from on-premises to cloud using Spark, containers, GPU acceleration, to the edge with our IoT Edge.  Read more at http://bit.ly/2xv9hGL.

Azure Data Factory

Data volumes are growing and so are the number of analytics projects delivered through the cloud.  One of the important aspects of all these solutions is moving data to the cloud or pushing it back to your on-premises solution after the heavy computing has been done in the cloud.  Being able to automate the computational workload with platforms like Spark, Data Lake Analytics, ... guarantees that you will benefit greatly from the pay-as-you-go model of the cloud.  With the introduction of Azure Data Factory v2 we will strengthen our data movement & orchestration solution by adding important capabilities such as trigger based execution, Integration Services runtime,  ... Read more at http://bit.ly/2xvo5VP and http://bit.ly/2huxJAj.

SQL Database

With the addition of SQL Database Managed Instance, you can combine the benefits of PaaS with near 100% SQL Server compatibility, effectively allowing you to seamlessly lift & shift your on-premises solutions to the cloud.  Read more at http://bit.ly/2yoGBhI.  Using our Database Migration Services at http://bit.ly/2yo236q we will make it even easier!

Cosmos DB

Serverless computing is increasingly being used in modern cloud architectures, combining the power of our global scale Cosmos DB with Azure Functions allows you to build serverless compute at near-infinite global scale with extremely low latency and all this supported by fully managed services.  By using this you can enhance real-time user experience and app performance without focusing on the infrastructure to make it happen. Read more at http://bit.ly/2wRBbdW.

Dynamics 365 AI

Today we announced an intelligent virtual agent for customer care, an intelligent assistant for customer service staff all powered by Microsoft AI.   HP Inc, Macy’s and Microsoft are already using this technology to improve overall customer satisfaction.  Read more at http://bit.ly/2hsYsko.

SQL Server 2017

While there are many additions to SQL Server 2017 like in-database R & Python, graph support and many more, the biggest news is certainly the release of SQL Server on Linux.  SQL Server can now run on Windows, Linux and Docker containers.  Read more at http://bit.ly/2y3gUXX.  Together with Red Hat we provide up to 30% off SQL Server 2017 through an annual subscription. When customers purchase a new Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription to support their SQL Server, they will be eligible for another 30% off their Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription price.  Read more at http://bit.ly/2xAIquz.

Storage & Platform

Azure Tailored Kernel for Ubuntu

Microsoft has been investing significantly in the backbone of Azure with new developments like FPGAs to boost network speed inside the Azure data centers.  This allows Azure VMs to provide as much as 25Gbps bandwidth with low latency.  Canonical and Microsoft collaborated to bring this to life in Ubuntu on Azure with this new kernel.  Read more at http://bit.ly/2jQBXGU

Availability Zones

As more and more mission critical workloads find their way to the cloud, we are committed to make sure that high availability comes as seamless as possible.  With the introduction of Availability Zones, we allow customers to run applications with higher availability and fault tolerance to datacenter failures.  Read more at http://bit.ly/2xVYE2Q

Larger Storage

Azure Storage is the foundation of any solution running in the cloud.  This is also one of the services that sees an incredibly fast growth.  To accommodate this we have announced faster and larger storage with storage accounts that can have up to 5PB and 50K IOPS.  Read more at http://bit.ly/2jM9P85

Confidential Computing

Microsoft spends one billion dollars per year on cyber security of which a significant part is spent on Azure.  As customers demand more security and privacy we are committed to provide more advanced solutions.  With our new confidential computing offer we will encrypt data even while in use.  Read more at http://bit.ly/2wbCHMK

VNET Service Endpoint

VNet service endpoints allow you to secure Azure PaaS service (Azure Storage / Azure SQL Database) resources to your virtual networks.  Traffic from your virtual network to the services will always remain on the Microsoft Azure network backbone, this will increase security and lower latency. Read more at http://bit.ly/2wS2pkE.

Internet-of-Things

Many announcements across different IoT services like the introduction of a new SaaS offer called IoT Central, Azure IoT Hub Device Provisioning Service and new capabilities in our IoT Edge to support cloud intelligence services like Cognitive Services, Machine Learning and more on the edge.  Read more at http://bit.ly/2y2Tpy9.

As I mentioned this is just a selection of the announcements but it should give you more than enough reading material for today (and probably tomorrow) 😉

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