Microsoft confirms real-time analytics and machine learning support for Azure services

Microsoft has announced the addition of several new features to its Azure data services platform to support Apache Hadoop.

Azure HDInsight will gain support of real-time analytics for Apache Hadoop and Azure Marketplace will benefit from new machine learning capabilities.

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Announced at the Strata + Hadoop World event in New York earlier this week, Microsoft explained that the new features were intended to bring big data to more customers via the cloud. Apache Storm is also now supported in HDInsight and available in preview form.

The decision to bring real-time analytics to HDInsight ensures that customers can now evaluate operational data in real-time for predictive maintenance. The addition of machine learning capabilities to the Azure Marketplace also allows customers and partners to test and manage predictive analytics solutions in the cloud.

It is hoped that the updates will offer developers the opportunity to create search engines, fraud prevention systems and mobile phone personal assistants. Customers could also add useful features to websites such as product recommendations or an anomaly detection service for predictive maintenance.

T.K. Rengarajan, Microsoft's corporate vice president of data platforms, explained that big data, Hadoop and analytics were changing the way Microsoft customers do business.

"As they collect and store more data than ever before, they expect more from their data and want more insights from it, including being able to do real-time analytics over streams of data to complement their existing Hadoop deployments," he said in a blog post.

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Rengarajan confirmed that Hortonworks Data Platform has also been integrated with Azure, but that the most important aspect of the new features was making it easier for customers to work with data of any type and size "in a trusted cloud environment."