Microsoft brings DALL E 2 to Azure OpenAI, launches a new employability program and more

As with each of its developer-focused Ignite conferences, Microsoft has announced a number of new features for its Azure cloud for the 2022 edition.

Starting with Azure Cognitive Services, DALL E 2 is now available for select customers via preview in Azure OpenAI. For those who don’t know, the model allows images to be generated via a text or image input. Better text summarization capabilities in 90+ languages ​​are now available in Azure Cognitive Service for Language.

Meanwhile, Image Analysis 4.0 and Spatial Analysis on the Edge are two tools ready for preview in the field of computer vision. They will provide better feature extraction and analysis with an emphasis on security and protection. Additionally, Azure Cognitive Service for Speech gets new customization features like more languages ​​and emotions. You can Read more about all updates for Azure Cognitive Services here.

Azure Form Recognition also has some preview capabilities, including extracting content from contracts and supporting 275 languages.

Registrations, Azure Containers for PyTorch, Azure Data Science Virtual Machines for PyTorch, and Apache Spark pool integration are available in preview on the Azure Machine Learning page. Generally available features include automated machine learning features and Python SDK v2. The Responsible AI dashboard is also scheduled to be generally available soon.

Microsoft also had some updates to share regarding its low-code industrial AI development platform, Project Bonsai. There are a number of new features in preview, including action masking, training from data with OfflineRL, model-based training acceleration, assessment 2.0, and bonsai samples in the Azure Marketplace. It has also included Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) as a partner in this initiative.

An infographic showing Microsoft's intelligent data platform

Let’s get to the Azure data side: Microsoft has announced a number of new partner solutions in multiple domains for its Intelligent Data Platform. These include MongoDB and YugabyteDB for databases, Qlik, Informatica, Fivetran and more for analytics, and Onetrust, Delphix and others for data governance.

On the databases side Azure CosmosDB offers better performance with the Citus engine and Support for documents larger than 16MB in Azure CosmosDB for MongoDB. Meanwhile, Azure Database for PostgreSQL has a preview feature in tow in the form of Customer-managed encryption key (CMEK) support for data-at-rest. And now Azure Database for MySQL includes a preview for Autoscale IO. As the name suggests, it manages IO dynamically and you only pay for the IO you use.

As expected, Azure Synapse Analytics is also getting more features soon. These include a pipeline template for connectivity to Microsoft 365 data and an enhancement to the copy activity feature through a tool called Mapping Data Flows. Meanwhile, the R language is now supported in Azure Synapse in preview form, while a new version of SynapseML is generally available.

Azure Data Explorer adds support for new data collection types, including Amazon S3, Azure Event Grid, Azure Synapse Link, and OpenTelemetry metrics. It can also read and write in the open standard formats Parquet and Delta. Additionally the SAP Change Data Connector (CDC) for Azure Data Factory is now generally available. Finally, Microsoft Purview Data Governance has new capabilities like SQL Dynamic Lineage, Metamodels and machine learning based classifications for more data formats in preview.

We’re moving to Azure hybrid, multi-cloud and edge and have a single sign-on experience (SSO) integrated with Azure Active Directory (AAD). Azure Arc enabled SQL Server along with better security through Microsoft Defender. there are more Hybrid deployment options for Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) also. In the meantime, Azure Stack HCI has a new version with improved Azure remote support, Azure Marketplace for VM self-service and GPU-P (Graphics Processing Unit Partitioning) partitioning with live migration in preview, and intent-based network automation with Network ATC generally available.

On the Azure infrastructure track Azure Automanage is available for Azure Arc enabled servers and Azure VMs, and there flexible orchestration options for Virtual Machine Scale Set and Spot Virtual Machines for further cost savings. Similar, Azure Premium SSD v2 is generally available while Azure Elastic SAN (Storage Area Network) is now in preview.

Over on the surveillance side, Azure Monitor has cost optimizations for logs and predictive autoscaling for virtual machine scale sets. Azure Monitor Agent (AMA) now supports Windows 10 and Windows 11 via the Windows client installer and also has an agent migration tool that is now in preview. In the same way, recommendations for warning rules are also offered.

In the network area, Azure Domain Name System (DNS) Private Resolver, and Azure Public Multi-Access Edge Compute (MEC) are generally available. Microsoft is also expanding the Azure Hybrid Benefit, offering Windows Admin Center through the Azure portal as well. In addition, Microsoft soon offer a savings plan for Compute, which allows customers to use a fixed hourly rate for all compute as long as they sign up for a commitment. Finally, Nutanix Cloud Clusters are also generally available.

Azure VMware Solution customers are likely to be satisfied to find out that stretched clusters now offer 99.99% private cloud uptime in preview. Customer-managed keys (CMK) are also supported, providing easier management, rotation, and integration with Azure Monitor and Azure Log Analytics.

Screenshot showing a developer deploying a dev box

Finally, when it comes to DevOps and other developer tools on Azure, we have quite a few updates. We’ve included them below for brevity and you can view more details via the embedded link where available:

Last but not least, Microsoft launches an employment program to bridge the gap between job seekers and Microsoft’s partner and customer ecosystem. The former can further educate themselves through self-determined training courses on Microsoft Learn and present this knowledge on LinkedIn. They will also be invited to a private LinkedIn group where employers can connect with them directly.

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