Microsoft Azure Unveils Real-Time Tools for IoT and Big Data Application Developers

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Microsoft’s public cloud platform Azure is continuing to add functionality for Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT) with the preview launch of Stream Analytics and Data Factory, and general availability launch of Azure Event Hubs.

According to a Wednesday blog post from Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Machine Learning, Joseph Sirosh, these new services help make Azure an ideal cloud platform on which to build big data solutions, as well as process, manage and orchestrate data from IoT devices and sensors.

Azure Stream Analytics is an event processing engine which helps uncover real-time insights from devices, sensors, infrastructure, applications and data. It could be used in IoT scenarios such as real-time fleet management or gaining insights from devices like mobile phones or connected cars.

Azure Data Factory helps orchestrate and manage diverse data such as an on-premise SQL Server database, and cloud data like Azure SQL Database, blobs, and tables. Data Factory helps assess end-to-end data pipeline health across various sources, and pinpoint issues and troubleshoot them.

Industrial automation and information provider Rockwell Automation, for instance, uses Data Factory as part of its remote monitoring services to orchestrate critical data pipelines for time series sensor data.

Azure Event Hubs is capable of logging millions of events per second in near real time. The data is collected into “Event Hubs”, which can then be used with real-time analytics services such as Stream Analytics.

Event Hubs and Stream Analytics can be used together to process massive amounts of real-time data and enable organizations to make more immediate decisions. Medical products company Aerocrine has already implemented Stream Analytics and Event Hubs to improve the management and care of patients with inflammatory airway diseases through the analysis of telematics data from clinics.

Microsoft has been improving its capabilities around Big Data and analytics recently with the addition of support for Apache Storm in Azure HDInsight earlier this month. It also recently announced new Azure SQL Database tiers which are now as large as 500 GB, as well as its fully-managed NoSQL database service Azure DocumentDB with a sophisticated search service and Azure Machine Learning.

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