Azure goes Quantum at Microsoft Ignite 2019, alongside multicloud and AI emphasis

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasized the importance of consistent developer experiences in multicloud, alongside new initiatives for cloud-delivered quantum computing in collaboration with Honeywell, IonQ, and qci.

Azure goes Quantum at Microsoft Ignite 2019, alongside multicloud and AI emphasis

Microsoft is emphasizing the importance of a consistent management platform across cloud environments, with CEO Satya Nadella touting the capabilities of Azure during his keynote at Ignite 2019 in Orlando on Monday. Azure Arc, announced during the keynote, is "a control plane built for multicloud, multi-edge, and for the first time managed data services for where the edge compute is," Nadella said.

The system allows organizations to manage non-Azure equipment, including private cloud infrastructure, edge devices, and resources on Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services (AWS) identically to the way Azure resources are managed.

"We want every tech company to be a tech company in its own right," Nadella said, emphasizing the importance of enabling organizations to leverage their business data, noting that 73% of business data is not analyzed.

SEE: Microsoft Azure: An insider's guide (free PDF) 

Azure Synapse is capable of running queries across structured and unstructured data, with a sample query taking nine seconds to complete in Azure, compared to 11 minutes in Google Cloud, with Synapse capable of handling queries from 10,000 users, while Google BigQuery and Amazon RedShift are throttling requests. Synapse represents a re-architecture of how Azure handles data lakes and data warehouses.

Nadella also noted Microsoft's research into autonomous systems, highlighting the concept of "machine teaching," providing guidelines and restrictions for artificial intelligence (AI) to interpret data sets. Project Silica, in a collaboration with Warner Bros., stored the entirety of the original 1978 Superman film on a 75 x 75 x 2mm piece of quartz glass. This is possible by a laser encoding data in glass by creating layers of three-dimensional nanoscale gratings and deformations. Machine learning algorithms read the data back by decoding images and patterns created as polarized light shines through the quartz.

Microsoft also announced its own quantum computing initiative, Azure Quantum, in collaboration with Honeywell, IonQ, and qci, with Q# and QDK resources for developers to get started, along with quantum simulations on classical computers for developers to get started through its open source Quantum Development Kit, which already has more than 200,000 downloads.

Microsoft's energy commitments were also emphasized during the keynote, with Nadella noting that Microsoft has deployed the first zero waste, 100% renewable energy-powered data center, with hopes to deploy this across Azure's 54 data center regions in the future. Microsoft predicts 50 billion devices by 2030 and 175ZB by 2025.

For more on Microsoft Ignite, check out "Microsoft's Hybrid 2.0 strategy: Azure Arc, Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack Edge explained" and "Azure Synapse Analytics combines data warehouse, lake and pipelines" at ZDNet.

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Image: James Sanders/TechRepublic