This morning in San Francisco, Microsoft announced several new data-focused tools in front of a cadre of customers and partners, not to mention a decent-sized grouping of press. The two new tools worth noting are Azure Intelligent Systems Service and Analytics Platform System.
Azure Intelligent Systems Services is an attempt to unite the cloud and the Internet of Things. According to Microsoft, the service collects data from “line-of-business assets” and gets that information into the cloud safely.
This matters as it is widely expected that the number of sensors that we have, both in technology and non-technology products, will grow. The Internet of Things, though no one really seems to know what it is, appears to be arcing towards some sort of broad connectivity of previously unintelligent objects that have long been part of our daily lives.
Microsoft would like to power that new data storage, processing, and transfer with its cloud services. Hence, Azure Intelligent Systems Services, which was launched today into preview. Microsoft continues its cross-platform efforts here, noting in a blog post that the new tool will accept data from “systems regardless of OS platform.”
Secondly, Analytics Platform Systems is a tool that appears to allow companies to query their data using Microsoft’s SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse and the company’s Hadoop distro, HDInsight. Microsoft COO Kevin Turner told the audience that the new product will be the tools users need to harness the power of their data. In a blog post, Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella called the tool “big data in a box.”
The event was presented under the larger rubric of “data culture,” a new Microsoft term that is perhaps best described as a secondary effect of “big data” itself — once you have the stuff, you need to figure out how you want to mess with it.