Microsoft Highlights Intelligent Power of Azure Databricks

Microsoft this week hosted a special event for data scientists, to show how the company’s cloud-based big data offerings can help organisations analyse their corporate information stores like never before. The event falls in line with the Microsoft Cloud Society initiative that is designed to bridge the skills gap by supporting experts increase their technical acumen in the cloud era.

Data scientists from across the Gulf region gathered at Microsoft’s Dubai offices for the company’s ‘Data-AI 300 Community’ Meet-Up, a new platform facilitated by Microsoft and driven by key community activists to explore and enable all aspects of data from managing to analytics through to data science. Many others joined the event via live-stream, as industry experts explained how Azure Databricks can deliver unprecedented scale, collaboration and security to enterprises that are interested in exploiting their richest resource – data – to the full.

“Gulf organisations are under increasing pressure to do more with less,” said Necip Ozyucel, Cloud & Enterprise Lead, Microsoft Gulf. “Their data represents a goldmine of actionable insights and opportunities – to engage customers, empower employees, optimise operations and enhance products, service levels and business models. That is the power of digital transformation. That is the power of big data. And our Data-AI 300 Community event showed our delegates just how far we have come in our ability to intelligently exploit our vast information reserves.”

Azure Databricks is a high-performance big-data platform based on Apache Spark, which has been optimised for Azure. The platform combines key performance benefits with an intuitive end-to-end experience. One-click setup and interactive workspaces allow greater collaboration between data scientists, data engineers and line of business. Azure Databricks also offers integration with Azure Active Directory and with Azure SQL Data Warehouse, CosmosDB, Azure Data Lake Store and Azure Blob Storage, as well as PowerBI.

At the Data-AI 300 Community event, Microsoft big-data experts sketched out the future direction of joint-analytics technology, including the forthcoming release of the Public Preview edition of Azure Databricks, which will allow data leaders to evaluate the power of Microsoft’s big-data platform.

Maddie Schults, Product Leader at Databricks, introduced delegates to the various optimizations Databricks offers above standard Apache Spark and their impact on performance and usability, as well as the tight integration into Azure, providing enterprises with the control to drive much needed transparency and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Asad Khan, Senior Analytics Engineering Leader at Microsoft, oversees teams on Azure Databricks, SQL Server, coming from a rich background of managing the development HDInsight in past years. He covered the combination of the various Azure Data Services integrated with Databricks, such as CosmosDB, Azure SQL Data Warehouse and HDInsight Kafka. Asad emphasized how Azure Databricks emerges as the best offer for managed Spark on Azure, while HDInsight shines in providing a variety of choices on managed Hadoop.

“Azure Databricks is the cutting edge of digital transformation,” said Ozyucel. “It accelerates innovation by streamlining workflows, and allows organisations’ data scientists to take on any big data analytics challenge they can imagine, supported by the enterprise scale of Azure. Capitalising on corporate data may be the defining challenge of the next decade for the region, as companies seek competitive edge and governments continue to optimise e-service delivery.”