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Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference, held in Seattle this year, was packed this morning with announcements and updates on the company’s vision and technology around generative AI.
The announcements, which included everything from new AI chip hardware and software to security, and open source format moves, show Microsoft is pulling out all of the stops it can to exert leadership in in the emerging technology area.
Here are some of the highlights from the event:
- Microsoft announces Mirroring, a way to copy databases. Mirroring is a new feature that is part of a number of updates to Microsoft Fabric that enables users to replicate external databases, even in proprietary formats. This in turn allows customers to more easily consolidate their data within Microsoft Fabric, and save costs. Microsoft said that the replication technology will start working today for customers of Azure Cosmos DB, Azure SQL DB, Snowflake, and Mongo DB. More data sources will be added 2024, the company said. Again, unifying data is a requirement for sophisticated Gen AI.
- Microsoft strengthens infrastructure play with in-house Maia and Cobalt chips for enterprise AI. The chips provide enterprises with efficient, scalable and sustainable compute to take advantage of the latest cloud and AI breakthroughs. Microsoft says they represent the final piece of the puzzle in its mission to deliver flexible infrastructure systems – with its own and partner-delivered hardware and software – that can be optimized to meet different workload requirements. Maia is an AI-centered GPU, designed to run cloud-based training and inference for generative AI workloads. Cobalt is an Arm-based chip for general-purpose workloads.
- Nvidia launches AI Foundry service for Microsoft Azure with new Nemotron 3.8B models. Nvidia is strengthening its co-sell strategy with Microsoft. The chipmaker announced an AI foundry service that will help enterprises and startups build custom AI applications on the Azure cloud, including those that can tap enterprise data with retrieval augmented generation (RAG).
- Microsoft sets new benchmark in AI data security with Purview upgrades. The new features will allow Copilot users on?Microsoft 365?to control what data the AI coding assistant can access, automatically classify sensitive data in responses, and institute compliance controls around LLM usage.
- Microsoft goes all-in on Gen AI with Security Copilot and Defender XDR. Microsoft launched a series of new cybersecurity solutions designed to identify, detect, and respond to threats enterprises face, many of which current detection and response systems can’t detect or stop. The company’s new idea of cybersecurity is based on using generative AI to find threats and share that information with all of its applications, copilots, extended detection and response (XDR) systems, the cloud, and hybrid clouds in real-time. Gen AI is the new DNA of Microsoft’s broad security strategy. Microsoft’s decision to go all-in on generative AI to unify threat intelligence across all security apps, copilots, clouds, and platforms reflects their enterprise customers’ urgency for a solution to stop these attacks that often go undetected.
- Microsoft announces expanded Copilot capabilities at Ignite for sales and service. The tech giant unveiled a suite of innovative, AI-driven Copilot features, aimed at boosting sales productivity and improving customer service experiences across organizations. The new updates aren’t just about sales and service operations using Microsoft Dynamics, rather they are a much deeper integration across the Microsoft portfolio. Users will be able to more easily integrate Microsoft 365 with source of sales and service data, than was previously possible.
- [Update: The following news was not part of the Ignite event, but was reported exclusively by VentureBeat on the same day] Microsoft and Google join forces on OneTable: In a new open-source partnership development effort announced today, Microsoft is joining with Google and?Onehouse?in supporting the OneTable project, which could reshape the cloud data lake landscape for years to come. Consistently formatted, reliable data is a requirement for all AI projects.
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These are just some of the announcements that Microsoft made at Ignite. For more details and information, stay tuned for further updates on VentureBeat.
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