Azure Is Given New IoT Analytics Capabilities By Microsoft

Microsoft has added three new capabilities to its Azure cloud platform that could help businesses extract and analyse data from the Internet of Things (IoT).

The company says the new tools, Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Event Hubs and Azure Data Factory, will collect, manage and analyse data produced by connected devices such as sensors and meters, allowing businesses to cope with the huge amount of information and set up complex processing systems with little programming.

Azure Stream Analytics combines and analyses various data streams in real time and can measure it against historical records or reference data to generate real time insights for businesses. Stream Analytics is a managed service, meaning users only pay for what they use and can scale up or down depending on workload.

IoT insights

This tool is paired with Azure Event Hubs, which is capable of collecting millions of events from these connected devices every second.

The third new feature is Azure Data Factory, which provides a single platform for customers to manage the movement of data and monitor various sources, such as SQL Server and Azure Blobs, Tables, Azure SQL Database and SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines, with more sources added depending on customer feedback during the preview release.

“We are excited to release the preview of our new Data Factory service – a managed service to compose data storage, processing, and movement services into managed data production pipelines,” says Mike Flasko, principal group program manager of Data Factory. “With a few clicks in the Azure portal, or command line operations, you can create a new data factory and link it to data and processing resources.”

Access to on-premise data is provided through a data management gateway, and data processing is enabled initially through Hive, Pig and C# activities. Hive and Pig activities can be run as an HDInsight cluster or Data Factory can manage the Hadoop cluster lifecycle.

All this can be viewed on a monitoring dashboard, which visualises data pipelines and allows any issues to be instantly pinpointed.

Azure cloud updates

Earlier this week at the TechEd conference, Microsoft detailed a number of other new services and security features for the Azure platform, including new Big Data applications.

Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled the Cloud Platform System (CPS), dubbed ‘Azure-in-a-box’, which works on a business’s premise but connects to the Azure public cloud, with operations managed using the same tools.

Microsoft competes in cloud services with the likes of Amazon, which leads the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) public cloud market, and Google, as well as vendors such as VMware, HP and Rackspace. The firm’s cloud business division generates annual revenues of $4.4 billion (£2.7 billion) and Microsoft is investing $4.5 billion a year in its cloud infrastructure.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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