Microsoft Build 2017: AI In Everything, IoT Edge, Cosmos DB, And A Swathe Of Azure Additions

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Redmond has revealed a mass of cloud, data and IoT updates and services for developers to tap into

Microsoft has unveiled a host of updates to its enterprise tech and cloud portfolio at the Redmond company’s Build 2017 conference in Seattle. 

First out of the gate is the Azure IoT Edge, a cloud service designed to bring and run analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities directly on an Internet of Things (IoT) device. The service compliments Redmond’s Azure IoT suite of services. 

The goal of Azure IoT Edge is to train machine learning models and develop analytics logic in Microsoft’s Azure cloud and then push it out to devices on the edge of an IoT network. 

Such a service allows for devices to keep operating with  analytics and inference models running locally even if connection to the network or the cloud is disrupted. 

Machine learning mission 

Ociacia 2 robot headTalking of AI and machine learning, Microsoft has committed to the aim of pushing AI into all of its product portfolio, from Bing and Office to Xbox and Azure.

A major part of this will be involve using more data collected and collated from businesses and users ,with their permission, in Microsoft Graph, an data tool and application programming interface (API) that allows native and third-party applications to make queries against data across integrated Office 365 applications, cloud services. and devices.      

Microsoft is also opening up the tech that supports its AI development to developers by adding 29 new cognitive computing services into the Microsoft Cognitive Services suite. 

There service also includes the Cognitive Services Labs, which enables external developers and researcher working on AI to contribute to the development of new services to the suite. 

Azure app 

iPhoneMicrosoft also revealed an iOS and Android Azure app to enable the management of virtual machines and cloud-hosted apps on the move from a smartphone. 

Interestingly, Microsoft did not mention that there will be an Azure app for Windows smartphones but did confirm the app would be developed for its Universal Windows Platform. 

Cosmos DB

cloudMicrosoft then showcased Azure Cosmos DB, a schema-free database service for app developers to use to store and serve up data for applications in the lightweight data-interchange  format JSON (JavaScript Object Notation). 

Described by Microsoft as a database built from scratch to “power planet-scale cloud services” with both strong power and fault tolerance capabilities and the ability to handle all manner of data, including documents, graphs, and columnar, Cosmos DB has evolved out of DocumentDB, the NoSQL database service. 

Developers can create a variety of databases from the service through using a series of APIs and programming models, ranging from MongoDB to Gremlin. 

And the rest…

AzureMicrosoft had a veritable treasure trove of other Azure and database announcements, such as Azure Database support for MySQL and ProgresSQL, Visual Studio availability for the Apple Mac, an Azure database migration service, the general availability of Windows Server Containers support in Azure Service Fabric, and the public preview of the Cortana Skills Kit. 

One of the more significant additional capabilities added into the Azure mix is the Azure Cloud Shell for the Azure Portal, the dashboard for managing applications running on Azure. The Cloud Shell brings support for the Bash Unix shell and command language, with support for Microsoft’s own PowerShell due to be launched in the near-future. 

With Azure Cloud Shell developers can trigger tasks in their Azure-hosted apps using scripts and commands they are familiar with. 

Build 2017 ushered in other Microsoft news including the reveal that Windows 10 is now on 500 million machines, as well as provide a platform for Satya Nadella to champion the development of inclusive technology

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