Microsoft’s cloud customers can now make their apps more user-friendly after Azure Search was launched in the UK.
The feature, which is now available in the company’s UK South data region, lets people search for online content in 56 languages.
Azure Search can analyse the text typed into an app’s search box regardless of verb tenses, gender, irregular plural nouns (“mouse” and “mice”, for example) or word breaks.
Search suggestions and highlighted text can also be enabled so users can find what they want quickly and easily. Other features include geo-spatial support, which allows people to find information on a topic based on location.
Graham Hill, director of Microsoft’s UK Commercial Strategy Group, said: “Azure Search helps developers create apps that work for them and their customers. It is a great addition to the range of services now available through our data centres in the UK, which offer flexibility, security and data residency.”
Microsoft has also announced the availability of Managed Disks (MD) in its UK data centres. MD takes away the notion of a storage account for disks, enabling customers to scale without worrying about the limitations associated with storage accounts.
The function comes just weeks after Microsoft announced that its customers in the UK can back up and restore files from data centres based in this country using Azure Backup and Site Recovery.
Both services are crucial for any firm storing information in the cloud. Azure Backup protects data on-premises and online, while Site Recovery allows customers to replicate on-premise physical servers in the cloud – so if their primary servers fail, they automatically switch to a secondary site to keep working.
They are just the latest tools Microsoft has deployed for its UK data centres, which were opened in September last year. Since then, thousands of customers – including the Ministry of Defence, the Met Police, parts of the NHS and Capita – have signed up to take advantage of the sites, which offer UK data residency, security and reliability.
Azure Automation was launched last month and lets customers save time and increase the reliability of administration tasks they have to complete, such as checking whether they have exceeded the size of their online database or overseeing security measures.
In December, Microsoft allowed organisations to use private connections to its UK data centres. The technology firm’s partners are providing a gateway from PSN/N3 to ExpressRoute and into Azure.
Other services include: Azure Security Centre, which helps customers prevent, detect and respond to threats, giving them full visibility and control over their secure network; Service Fabric, which lets developers focus on building features for their applications, without needing to design and write additional code to deal with reliability, scalability or latency; and Azure Marketplace – an online store featuring thousands of certified and open source applications, developer service and data.
Microsoft was the first global cloud provider to offer a complete and trusted cloud solution from data centres in the UK. These are now part of one the world’s largest online storage infrastructures, supported by more than 100 data centres globally. These hold over 30 trillion pieces of data and are backed by billions of dollars in investment since 1989.