Today kicks off Microsoft Ignite 2019, one the premier technology conferences of the year.  This year, tens of thousands of people have descended on Orlando FL to participate in hands-on-labs, see the products that Microsoft and its partners are showcasing and most importantly, hear about the new innovations coming out of Redmond.

Ignite pic

I have been ecstatic with Microsoft’s depth and breadth of innovation around data and AI over the last couple years.  From adding new services to better integrations with the data fabric ecosystem, Microsoft has truly created a full portfolio of offerings to help customers solve their data and AI problems regardless of where they are on their analytics journey.

Coming into Ignite, I was excited to see what the product teams have been up to over the last 6 months and boy they did not disappoint.  There were a ton of product updates, previews and releases announced today.  Here is a look at the ones that I am super excited about.

Azure Synapse Analytics

Today, Microsoft announced Azure Synapse Analytics which is a limitless analytics service aimed at bringing the enterprise data warehouse and data analytics closer together.  In today’s world there are many different analytical streams that businesses are forced to maintain.  Two of the most common types are the enterprise data warehouse and the data lake.  The challenge is that these tend to be maintained independently from each other which hinders getting the most from all your data.  Without the ability to correlate data across these different streams, business are not truly unlocking the power of their data and risk not being as competitive.

With Azure Synapse Analytics, Microsoft is bringing together these different analytical streams and provide a unified experience from ingestion to visualization.  Businesses can put their data to work much more quickly, productively, and securely, pulling together insights from all data sources, data warehouses, and big data analytics systems.

Here are some links if you want to learn more

New additions to Azure Cognitive Services

I’ve talked about Cognitive Services a couple times in past blogs and am a real big fan of what the Azure team is doing here.  In short, Cognitive Services provides a set of machine learning API’s around things like speech, vision, language, decision and many more.  This allows organizations to incorporate AI into their business without having to have a data scientist.  If you think of the crawl, walk run analogy, this is the walk.  There has been a lot of innovation around Cognitive Services over the past year and the releases today continue that tradition.

Microsoft announced general availability of Personalizer which is an AI based service for reinforcement learning that allows businesses to create rich customer interactions by prioritizing relevant content and experiences.

In addition to Personalizer, previews of new capabilities around Speech, Text, and Form Recognizer were also announced.  You can check out all the Cognitive Services updates here.

Updates to SQL Server 2019

SQL Server 2019 is delivering intelligence over all your data both structured and unstructured.  These powerful additions to the product enable enterprises to not only store and query big data at scale, but also combine it with customer data wherever it may reside (SQL Server, Oracle, Mongo, PostgreSQL, etc.). SQL Server also includes built-in AI capabilities to enable a comprehensive analytics and AI solution for all a company’s data needs.  New capabilities in 2019 include:

  • Big Data Clusters
  • Data Virtualization
  • Intelligent Query Processing
  • Secure Enclaves
  • Accelerated Database Recovery

You can check out everything that is new with SQL Server 2019 here

There were a ton of other announcements and updates today check out the links below to get more information

I’ve said this before but this is not the Microsoft from 10 years ago.  They are doing some very impressive things to build a rich ecosystem of data and AI capabilities for customers.  I highly encourage you to check out these announcements in more detail.  I can’t wait to see what is next!  

Your Bearded Friend,