Microsoft is doubling down on the cloud, using its BUILD 2017 developer event to hammer home the idea that in a mobile- and cloud-first world, data crunching comes first. Hopes of new Surface hardware were dashed at day one of the annual conference, with the software behemoth instead focusing on Cortana, Artificial Intelligence.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announcing that there are now 500 million active Windows 10 devices being seen every month. The milestone comes as Office 365 sees 100m monthly active commercial users; 90-percent of the Fortune 500, Microsoft says, now runs on the company’s cloud. Today, though, that cloud starts evolving.
The traditional paradigm of cloud computing, Nadella points out, has been data getting shuttled from wherever it’s created – be that a factory floor, your car or home, or a hospital or farm – up into a centralized server somewhere. Microsoft’s next phase, though, is a more intelligent cloud, recognizing that often the data wants to stay where it’s created. Instead, the processing gets pushed to the edge.
Azure Cosmos DB, a brand new cloud computing platform dubbed “the industry’s first globally distributed, multimodal database service.” With new types of data, a new type of database is required, Microsoft argues. This one will allow for a single instance to be run globally, with single-digit latency at the 99th percentile.
Developers will be able to develop a single Azure function in the cloud, and have that distributed down to Internet of Thing connected devices in edge cases, including support for machine learning, AI, and cognitive services.