Microsoft Combines Data Offerings

Microsoft announced the new Cortana Analytics Suite, a one-stop shop for the company's machine learning, Big data and business intelligence (BI) products.

Satya Nadella, CEO of the Redmond software giant, described the offering during his 2015 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) keynote presentation in Orlando, Fla. "The thing that I want to talk most about today is data," Nadella said. He said data and the ways it can be converted into actionable insights are critical to today's businesses, and Cortana Analytics, expected to be available this fall, is geared toward helping them do just that.

"We have taken all of the technology that we have underneath a lot of our own applications that exhibit these core analytic capabilities -- Cortana, Bing and its Web understanding, what we have done with vision and speech. And we took all of the Big Data infrastructure, machine learning and all of that capability and we're bringing it together in one suite," Nadella said.

Cortana Analytics will have "core information management capabilities," according to Nadella. It will also have the ability to store data in its native format, whether it's Big Data, SQL or NoSQL. Users will also be able to use a variety of mechanisms to process data, including MapReduce, stream analytics and machine learning. At the front end will be Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant technology, providing the user interface.

Microsoft's aim with Cortana Analytics is to democratize analytics, Nadella said.

"What really democratized client-server was information like Visual Basic. What is the model equivalent of democratizing Big Data and advanced analytics? That's what led us to Cortana Analytics."

This blog post by Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise group at Microsoft, provides more details about what Microsoft technologies are included in the suite, which will be available through a "monthly subscription model" at general availability. Besides Cortana, bundled services include Power BI, Azure Machine Learning, Azure HDInsight, Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Data Lake and Azure SQL Data Warehouse. See the table below for the full list:

[Click on image for larger view.] Microsoft services included in the Cortana Analytics Suite. (Source: Microsoft blog.)

"The offering, while customizable to fit the unique needs of organizations, will also provide preconfigured solutions to speed deployment of common scenarios we see across many industries, such as fraud detection, churn analysis and recommendations," Numoto said.

More information about the Cortana Analytics Suite is available here.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for RCPmag.com and senior editor of AWSInsider.net.