Microsoft today officially announced the general availability of its Azure machine learning service at the Strata Conference, to help organizations derive more insight from a heap of scattered and unstructured data stored in the cloud.
Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers. It provides both PaaS and IaaS services and supports many different programming languages, tools and frameworks, including both Microsoft-specific and third-party software and systems.
Machine learning is a type of data analysis that allows computers to draw inferences through large sets of data. While IBM has incorporated machine learning into some of its Watson-branded cognitive computing services, Microsoft’s offering is the first general machine learning service from a major cloud vendor.
Machine learning is often a costly as well as a complex set-up and also requires a high end hardware requirement, which sometimes prove to be a major roadblock. Usage of the cloud service simplifies this operation and eases large-scale machine learning jobs.
With the announcement of the general availability, Microsoft has also added up a number of enhancements and tweaks to the platform.
Microsoft already acquainted us with the platform in June without specifying about the date when it would go live. Early users include the Pier 1 retail chain, Carnegie Mellon University, and energy industry systems provider eSmart Systems.
Azure offers Python and R programming language to developers to work onto this platform. Microsoft also maintains a marketplace for the same which can be used to buy machine learning algorithms. The marketplace currently offers 20 starter experiments.
Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president at Microsoft explained-
Data scientists can publish APIs with a few clicks. Applications can include R code, python code [or a combination]. It’s such an incredible selection of capabilities. This is an integrated tool set that’s fully managed. You don’t have to install hardware and software and you can do advanced learning and analytics.
The service will come at a price of $US9.99 per seat per month, $1 per hour for use of the developer environment, $2 per every compute hour, and $0.50 per every 1,000 transactions.
Azure now also offers the ability to run Hadoop over Ubuntu Linux. This feature provides a way for Hadoop deployments that use Linux scripts to run on Azure.