Microsoft just held one of its largest conferences of the year, and a few major announcements were made which pertain to the cloud data science world. Here they are in my order of importance (based upon my opinion).
I think this announcement will have a very large and immediate impact. Azure Synapse Analytics can be seen as a merge of Azure SQL Data Warehouse and Azure Data Lake. Synapse allows one to use SQL to query petabytes of data, both relational and non-relational, with amazing speed.
Azure Arc allows deployment and management of Azure services to any environment which can run Kubernetes. This allows Azure to manage a completely hybrid infrastructure of: Azure, on-premise, IoT, and other cloud environments. It is now possible to deploy an Azure SQL Database to a virtual machine running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and manage it from Azure. It’s true, I saw it happen this week.
R Support for Azure Machine Learning
Azure Machine Learning now has a new web interface and it just got support for the R programming language. Python support has been available for a while. Azure Machine Learning is an environment to help with all the aspects of data science from data cleaning to model training to deployment.
There were a few other interesting announcements which are not completely specific to data scientists, but are worth mentioning.
Visual Studio Online
This is exactly what it sounds like. An Integrated Development Environment (IDE) in your browser. I have not gotten a chance to try it out yet, so I am not sure its usecase for data science yet. Years ago, there were many companies attempting to do this, but most are no longer around. Hopefully, now is a better time for an in-browser IDE and Visual Studio Online will succeed.
Without question, this was the coolest thing to be unveiled at Ignite. Microsoft Research has come up with a technique to store data into a piece of glass. They call it Project Silica. I was fortunate to be able to speak with one of the lead researchers on the project, so I will be sharing more from that interview later. It is fascinating, but probably years from implementation.
I have been ignoring Quantum for a while now, but it is time for that ignorance to stop. Microsoft is a (qu)bit late to the game but they are making some impressive progress. The Quantum Development Kit (QDK) has been released and Azure Quantum is in private preview, so you can sign up to be an early adopter.
Those are the big data science announcements of the week.