Microsoft Enriches AI, Data Offerings At Connect();

Microsoft Connect(); 2018

Microsoft kicked off the 2018 edition of Connect(); today, its annual cloud and data focused event. In the process, the company announced a number of features and improvements to its services.

Primarily, its cloud, AI and data offerings.

The two big highlights of the event were the announcements that Azure Machine Learning service had reached general availability along with the news that the company had open sourced the ONNX interface engine that drives its Windows Machine Learning platform.

But there were other technology announcements too, covering a broad range of the product and service portfolio that have taken Microsoft to new heights of success.

Data, analytics and AI were the talk of the town at the gathering, as Redmond made solid efforts to make a couple of its Azure cloud offerings even more compelling than before.

First up is Cosmo DB, the company’s geographically distributed NoSQL service that has seen a price cut that finally makes it a viable choice for many. It has been competing with Google Spanner and Amazon DynamoDB cloud database services.

Impressive it may be, but the pricing structure of Cosmo DB made it a nonstarter for most users.

But now thanks to some neat and nifty engineering work, Microsoft has introduced much lower entry-level pricing for this turnkey solution for distributed cloud-based workloads.

Meanwhile back at the AI hut, Microsoft has rebranded its Azure Machine Learning service to the more pleasing Azure Machine Learning Studio.

It also unveiled two key new features for Azure Cognitive Services — container support for Language Understanding and custom translation. The former is actually available in early access starting today, while the latter is now generally available.

The container support allows Azure developers to deploy apps with object detection, vision recognition and speech recognition on the edge, thereby more easily maintaining architectures across the cloud and edge.

Custom translation lets users tap human translated content to build a custom translation system that is better equipped to handle distinct writing styles and specific vocabulary like jargons.

Oh, and the software titan also released a preview version 3 of the .NET SDK for Cosmo DB today, rounding up a special day for cloud users.

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