Microsoft just made five more Azure services multicloud-friendly

Using Kubernetes and Azure Arc, Microsoft customers will be able to run several existing Azure services — including its serverless computing tool — on their own servers or other clouds.

Satya Nadella is expected to make cloud news at Microsoft’s Build conference Tuesday.

Satya Nadella is expected to make cloud news at Microsoft's Build conference Tuesday.

Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Microsoft has figured out a way to let its hybrid cloud customers play with some of the bells and whistles previously available only on its public cloud.

Azure customers will be able to run five Azure application services anywhere they like — including AWS and Google Cloud — through Kubernetes and Azure Arc, Microsoft plans to announce Tuesday at its Build developer conference. "Any CNCF-conformant Kubernetes cluster connected through Azure Arc is now a supported deployment target for Azure application services," Microsoft's Gabe Monroy, vice president of Azure Developer Experience, wrote in a draft blog post reviewed by Protocol

Azure Arc is a hybrid cloud management service that allows customers to deploy and manage applications based around Azure services on their own servers or other cloud providers. It's an extension of Azure Stack, which was one of the first services from a major cloud provider to get traction among companies looking for hybrid cloud options.

Microsoft is unique among the Big Three cloud providers in that it has a set of longstanding customers that once built data centers, even entire businesses, around Windows Server applications. Those customers value the investments they've made in those data centers and applications, but they understand they can't afford to fall too far behind competitors who are building applications around newer cloud services.

To be "cloud native," as in the Cloud Native Computing Foundation referenced by Monroy, is to embrace a different way of building software than what was in vogue during the data center era. Businesses interested in cloud computing aren't motivated purely by ditching their servers; they're also attracted to more flexible, and in some cases, more powerful, tools for developing software.

Extending the five services — Azure App Service, Azure Functions, Azure Logic Apps, Azure Event Grid and Azure API Management — will allow those customers to take advantage of some of the more-advanced concepts enabled by cloud computing without having to give up their existing investments. It also removes part of the lock-in fear when building around serverless computing concepts like Azure Functions, in that you'd now be able to run those applications on your own hardware if you'd like.

Of course, you're still locked into Microsoft's software tool should you choose to build applications this way, but that's a trade-off some companies are willing to make. Microsoft said the new capabilities will be available as a preview as of Tuesday, with general availability to follow at a later date.

Extending cloud services into on-premises data centers and even other clouds has been embraced by all of the three major U.S. cloud providers at this point. Both Google and AWS have introduced multicloud services that allow their customers to manage applications on competing clouds, usually with Kubernetes as the linking technology.

Later at Build, which runs through Thursday, Microsoft plans to show off a collection of AI tools that developers can use to build machine-learning models more quickly and easily, following Google's announcement of Vertex AI at Google I/O last week. It will also introduce new enhancements to its Cosmos DB database, and preview the next version of Visual Studio, its popular software development tool.

Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

Keep ReadingShow less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

Keep ReadingShow less
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

Keep ReadingShow less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

Keep ReadingShow less
Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.


Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

Keep ReadingShow less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories