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Azure Build 2020: Key Announcements For Cloud

microsoft azure cloud

At Build 2020, Microsoft has announced some newly expanded capabilities for Azure Cloud. These new tools and services available empower developers to be more collaborative and productive on the cloud platform.

The announcements made at the conference signals the direction in which Microsoft is proceeding, as cloud-based innovation and new tools can enable developers to build powerful applications. In this article, we take a look at the announcements for developers and companies to leverage the cloud for innovation.


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Azure Arc Enabled Kubernetes

Microsoft has delivered Azure Arc powered by Kubernetes in preview to its clients. With this, businesses can use Azure Arc to connect and configure any Kubernetes cluster over numerous infrastructure and many application scenarios and deployment environments in the Kubernetes ecosystem. 

Microsoft also announced the preview of Azure Arc, an innovation that opens up new hybrid scenarios for enterprise users by delivering Azure services and management to all infrastructure over edge, datacenters, and multi-cloud. Azure Arc is a set of technologies that extends the control plane of Azure out to on-premises, multi-cloud environments and edge.

The solution is a powerful tool and gives a lot of freedom on the cloud. Microsoft’s customers will benefit by having a cloud-native control plane to inventory, organise, and enforce policies for their IT resources wherever they are, from a central place. For Azure Arc, Microsoft has integration partners like Red Hat OpenShift, Canonical Kubernetes, and Rancher Labs to assure Azure Arc runs well for all the major platforms that companies are utilising. Users can link any Kubernetes version of their choice and work with them alongside other Azure data services. 

Cloud Supercomputer

Microsoft also announced one of the world’s most powerful AI supercomputers built on the Azure cloud platform. Developed in collaboration with and exclusively for OpenAI, this supercomputer is purpose-built to train massive distributed AI models, giving it all the benefits of a dedicated appliance paired with the benefits of Azure’s modern cloud infrastructure.

According to Microsoft, it is one of the top 5 supercomputers in the world. It uses 285 thousand CPU cores and 10k GPUs connected with an extremely fast network. The cloud supercomputer is built for massively distributed models and gives the cloud-hosted supercomputer the benefits of a dedicated appliance, paired with the benefits of robust modern cloud infrastructure. Because it is cloud-hosted on Azure and can benefit all Azure customers unlike other supercomputers out there. Customers can have large ML models, this computing power can unlock great power for the Azure developer community who will be using it to build new products and services.

Azure Synapse Link

Synapse Analytics is Microsoft’s single managed service for analytics over your data lake and data warehouse, using either serverless or provision compute. And now, with Azure Synapse Link, this extends to your operational data sources. 

For real-time analytics, many firms provide operations and workloads in the same system, requiring provisioning on both which is expensive in terms of memory resources, and also not scalable. To overcome this, Microsoft adopted a cloud-native approach for the hybrid transactional analytical process (HTAP), an architecture that removes the wall between transaction processing and analytics. 

Microsoft is the first to develop the first cloud-native version of HTAP along with Cosmos DB, making it possible to have real-time analytics on enterprise events as they are occurring. The new capability eliminates the obstacles between Azure operational database services and Azure Synapse Analytics, allowing users to gain insights from their real-time transactional data stored in their operational databases with a single click, without handling data transfer or placing a strain on their operational systems. 

Power Platform Updates

Today, 3.5 million developers use the Azure-powered Power Platform to create apps, bots, workflows, and dashboards. It’s a powerful cloud tool to build no-code/low code applications and customise and extend Microsoft 365 and Dynamic 365. The month of March saw a 50% increase in first time Power Apps users, and this year 70 thousand organisations have started to use Power Apps on the Azure cloud platform. 

At Build 2020,  Microsoft announced how it is building robotic process automation connectivity to legacy apps with its acquisition of Softomotive, which will be integrated into Power Automate on the Power Platform. The company is also adding new professional developer extensibility to power virtual agents, which is being used extensively during the COVId-19 crisis.

Microsoft Cloud For Healthcare

A new innovation in healthcare through cloud solutions and Microsoft Teams will help hospitals and care providers better manage the needs of patients. One of the solutions as part of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare is the bot service which connects with products such as Microsoft Teams. It can be used in emergency situations for medical service professionals addressing common questions that people may have, engaging patients and for collaboration and efficiency. 

Microsoft Industry Clouds targets specific Industries for its tools, and healthcare is an important one due to the ongoing pandemic. Microsoft cloud for healthcare is accessible in public preview for a six-month free trial, with an integrated set of tools like chatbots, Teams and Azure IoT

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare brings together trusted and integrated capabilities for customers and partners that enhance patient engagement, empower health team collaboration, and improve clinical and operational data insights. Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare will support capabilities such as the new Bookings app in Teams, now generally available to customers across industries to help schedule, manage and conduct business-to-consumer virtual medical appointments.

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Vishal Chawla
Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.

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