Microsoft launches next gen AI-based products and services

The Company’s latest offerings include SQL Server 2017, Azure Cognitive Services and Cortana Intelligence solution templates

Microsoft launches next gen AI-based products and services - ITNEXT

In line with Microsoft’s next generation AI-based data strategy, the company recently announced several new products and services. With this announcement, the company intends to enable organizations to easily leverage data driven intelligence in their digital transformation journey. The new offerings comprise deeply integrated Deep Learning and Machine Learning capabilities to support the next generation of enterprise-grade AI applications for developers and businesses, create intelligent applications that drive new efficiencies, create better products, and enhance customer experiences.

Earlier, a development and deployment lifecycle of statistical and analytical models used to consume lot of time due to the fact that developers had to undertake heavy lifting activities. By bringing intelligence into existing well-engineered data platforms, it simplifies the deployment of AI.

Microsoft’s latest products and services include:

1.    First Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) with built-in AI:  Production quality CTP 2.0 of SQL Server 2016, incorporated with in-database support for a rich library of machine learning functions, aided by, for the first time, Python support (in addition to R). It leverages Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) computing through the Python/R interface, which helps to power even the most intensive deep learning jobs on images, text and other unstructured data. Developers can implement GPU-enabled analytics and very sophisticated AI directly in the database server as stored procedures and achieve much higher throughput. In addition, they can use all the rich features for concurrency, high-availability, encryption, security, and compliance to build and deploy robust enterprise-grade AI applications.


2.    SQL Server 2017: It will be the first version of SQL Server compatible with Windows, Linux and Docker containers. Along with Windows Server, the new version will also operate on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Linux Server, and Ubuntu. Further, it can also run inside Docker containers on Linux or Mac, which can enable developers to spend more time developing, and less on Dev Ops.


3.    Microsoft R Server 9.1 and Neural Network Models: It adds intelligence to where the data lives to Hadoop and Spark along with SQL Server. Besides several advanced machine learning algorithms, it introduces pre-trained neural network models for sentiment analysis and image featurization, supports SparklyR, SparkETL and SparkSQL, and GPU support for neural networks. R Tools for Visual Studio offers a state-of-the-art integrated development environment (IDE) for developers to work with Microsoft R Server. An Azure Microsoft R Server Virtual Machine (VM) image is also available helping developers to rapidly provision the server on the cloud.


4.    Azure Cognitive Services: It will enable users to incorporate apps with cognitive intelligence. Face API, Computer Vision API and Content Moderator are available in the Azure Portal. With these updates, Microsoft will have in total 25 APIs and services in their Cognitive Services collection.


5.    Cortana Intelligence solution templates: It will help in the use of advanced analytics and big data to enhance business processes and increase competitiveness. Customers can leverage flexible solution templates built using best practice architecture and machine learning models, well-supported by Microsoft’s rich ecosystem of partners.



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