Microsoft has made its cloud-based predictive analytics service, Azure Machine Learning, generally available. It has also added some enhancements to the product since it was launched in beta last July.
Azure Machine Learning enables customers and Microsoft partners to rapidly design, test, automate and manage predictive analytics solutions in the cloud. In essence, it makes it simpler for businesses to predict future trends with data.
Writing about the beta solution last year, Joseph Sirosh, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of machine learning, said it “brings together the capabilities of new analytics tools, powerful algorithms developed for Microsoft products like Xbox and Bing, and years of machine learning experience into one simple and easy-to-use cloud service.”
According to Sirosh this means that customers face virtually none of the start-up costs associated with authoring, developing and scaling machine learning solutions.
In this latest version, Microsoft has not only made it easier to take a data science workflow and create an analytics web service from it, but it also supports more open source solutions such as programming language Python and R – a popular free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.
“This is a boon for innovators who seek to leverage the rich open source libraries of these two ecosystems in application building,” said Sirosh.
Other enhancements include support for algorithms such as ‘Learning with Counts’, which allows customers to learn from terabytes of data. A new community gallery has also been added so that data scientists may ask questions or post comments about experiments in the gallery and learn from each other.
Since it was first released in beta, hundreds of Microsoft partners including Booz Allen Hamilton, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Dell and Infosys have been using Azure Machine Learning to build innovative advanced analytics solutions for customers.
Cognizant Technology Solutions, for example, has built a centre of excellence around Azure Machine Learning and certified associates with hands-on experience are working extensively with the technology. Dell is incorporating Azure Machine Learning into its Statistica predictive analytics solution. And start-up Data Science Dojo is helping build a global data science talent pool.
“No other advanced analytics service comes close to the scope, openness and breadth of the offering, or the ability to leverage the cloud for easy application development and deployment,” said Sirosh. “Together with other Azure big data services such as HDInsight, stream analytics offerings such as Azure Stream Analytics, data pipeline orchestration services such as Azure Data Factory, and business intelligence services such as Power BI, Azure Machine Learning enables businesses to wring value out of every byte of data that they store and process.”
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