CEO Satya Nadella delivers the vision keynote at the Microsoft Ignite conference.

Micosoft Ignite 2019: Data Is In the Spotlight with Azure Arc, Synapse Analytics and More

New Azure products announced at Microsoft Ignite are designed to take care of data from every angle.

Azure was center stage on the first day of the Microsoft Ignite conference as CEO Satya Nadella announced new services in data storage, analytics, and artificial intelligence. 

In a vision keynote address that started with a chuckle-filled Stranger Thingsthemed video and ended with a Minecraft demonstration, Nadella rolled out several new features and services, most of which are powered by Azure.

Hybrid Computing Gets a New Look with Azure Arc

Azure Arc is Microsoft’s latest solution for multi-cloud computing. Users are able to control data centers at multiple locations, both virtual and physical, all from one interface. Arc can enable Azure services and security capabilities anywhere, including on-premises data centers. It also extends Azure management to any infrastructure.

“Azure Arc really marks the beginning of this new era of hybrid computing, where there is a control plane built for multicloud and multiedge,” said Nadella. What most organizations may find most helpful is that Arc also works with Amazon Web Services, so they can take advantage of the solution without migrating services. Data can be moved or duplicated, either to a different location or to the cloud, with a mere click-and-drag of the mouse.

Data Storage Meets Analytics with Azure Synapse Analytics

While Arc brings different data centers together, Nadella said that Microsoft also wanted to find a way for organizations to manage their data, and be able to take action on that data all at once. Enter Azure Synapse Analytics.

Synapse combines data links and data warehouses into the same system, allowing for faster, more convenient analytics. “We want to bring together what, until today, had been separate categories: data warehousing and Big Data,” said Nadella. “That means your structured and unstructured analytics can be brought together with unprecedented scale.”

With the ability to handle up to 10,000 users at a time, Synapse brings analysis to enterprise scale.

Synapse is also deeply integrated with Azure’s machine learning, allowing it to use the data it collects to better predict future outcomes, all in one system.

Organizational Data Is At Users’ Fingertips with Project Cortex

Another announcement that data crunchers might be excited about is the rollout of Project Cortex. Cortex uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to automatically sort all of an organization’s data, allowing for easy searches of information.

In fact, Cortex users don’t even need to conduct a search to find the information they need. The service, which is part of Microsoft 365, highlights acronyms or project titles that are mentioned frequently in emails, documents or other files throughout the company. The user can then click on that phrase to find out what it is, who is working on it, or what the status of the project might be. Users can even ask a question directly, such as “When is this due?”

Like Synapse, the goal is to take all of the knowledge and data within an organization and make it easier for that organization to act on it. “This is again putting your data to work for you,” Nadella said.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Read about how chief digital officers are changing the C-suite.

Other News from Nadella’s Keynote

Nadella spoke a lot about democratizing AI, which was the idea behind the announcement of Azure Quantum. Its solutions and algorithms would be open, available on Azure for anyone to use. It also has simulation capabilities that would allow for quantum computing while still doing day-to-day processing.

It was also in the spirit of democratization that Nadella announced new features in Microsoft’s Power Platform, aimed at helping businesses to build applications and other digital products themselves. Nadella said that the goal was to arm “citizen developers” with the tools needed to digitally transform their organizations from within.

Find more of BizTech's coverage of Microsoft Ignite 2019 here.

Keara Dowd/BizTech Magazine
Nov 04 2019

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