The shift toward online digital conferences has prompted Microsoft to reconvene Ignite about six months early this year. Scanning the data and analytics announcements, the overriding theme is of extending the reach of the portfolio of Azure data platforms. For data and analytics, the headlines on this go round include a new Azure Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra; support for a MongoDB 4.0 API in Azure Cosmos DB; the general availability of Azure Synapse Link for Cosmos DB; and some enhancements to Azure Cache for Redis offering. And Microsoft is introducing new tools for data warehouse users to automate their migration to Azure Synapse Analytics. On the hybrid cloud front, there are several announcements for the software-defined hybrid platform Azure Arc, including support of Kubernetes (K8s) and addition of Azure Machine Learning to the small, but growing stable of Azure services available on Arc.
These days, every Microsoft conference is a data event, and Microsoft's latest Ignite virtual event, which kicks off today, is no exception. With enough data and ML announcements to go around, I'll cover news pertaining to Azure Machine Learning, Power BI and Azure Purview in this post. ZDNet comrade-in-data Tony Baer covers Ignite's NoSQL, Redis, Synapse and Azure Arc news in a separate story: First off, Azure Machine Learning will soon be offered as a multi-cloud Azure Arc-enabled service. That means you can train Azure ML models on other public clouds' infrastructure, or even on-premises. All you need is a Kubernetes cluster, which many enterprises run in their own data centers and for which all three major cloud providers have managed services.
Every spring, Microsoft's Build conference has served as a vehicle for numerous Microsoft data platform announcements, most of them pertaining to the Azure cloud. Although this year's event is virtual, Microsoft's data platform announcements are still in abundance. But, this year, they seem less about raw capabilities and more about fit, finish, and integration. The timing seems good: In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, customers need lower-friction routes for implementing solutions more than they need shiny new standalone capabilities. The cloud computing race in 2020 will have a definite multi-cloud spin.
Video: These are the top business tech stories from Microsoft's Ignite Microsoft is getting really serious about giving customers choices. That much was clear at this week's combined Microsoft Ignite and Envision events in Orlando and, in particular, in announcements around databases, data-integration, machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI). Several announcements at Ignite were entirely about choice. On the hybrid front, for example, there was the general availability of Azure Stack, which lets customers put a slice of the Azure Cloud on premises -- on a choice of hardware-partner racks. My focus was on what Microsoft described as creating "systems of intelligence."
Today I'm excited to give the Day 1 keynote at PASS Summit v.20, a gathering of our longtime community of SQL Server users and data professionals. PASS Summit is an amazing chance to see the faces of old and new friends. It's a place to meet with customers and fans to continually learn about their evolving needs and to help us grow as a SQL community and develop the best data platform products in the market. Now more than ever, we are architecting for hybrid, because we are hearing from customers that they will be running data workloads on-premises and in the cloud – rarely just one or the other. We believe that the value Microsoft can add is to provide a great and consistent experience wherever they deploy.