Microsoft used its Connect 2017 conference in New York to unveil new Visual Studio tools that help developers harness the growing opportunity from artificial-intelligence-enabled applications.
However, intelligent software is nothing without data, not to mention the platforms and services that enterprises use to manage data. As it turns out, many of those data management services are based on open-source technologies.
Continuing the recent trend of making big open-source announcements at Connect, Microsoft announced it is supporting open source with the introduced of a preview version of its new Azure Databricks service, a big data analytics platform based on Apache Spark. It was at Connect 2014 that Microsoft pledged to open-source .NET Core and at Connect 2016 it announced that it had joined the Linux Foundation.
Microsoft is implementing Azure Databricks because it "combines the best of Databricks and Azure to help customers accelerate innovation with one-click set up, streamlined workflows and an interactive workspace," blogged Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise group at Microsoft.
"Native integration with Azure SQL Data Warehouse, Azure Storage, Azure Cosmos DB and Power BI simplifies the creation of modern data warehouses that enable organizations to provide self-service analytics and machine learning over both relational and non-relational data with enterprise-grade performance and governance," Guthrie wrote.
Appealing to developers who have settled on the Apache Cassandra database for their big data projects, Microsoft released a preview API (application programming interface) that will allow them to seamlessly target Cosmos DB.
Cassandra is an open-source distributed database management system that can be deployed on commodity servers. The new API will allow developers to reuse their existing code and use the globally-distributed Cosmos DB NoSQL service as the basis for "Cassandra-as-a-service" implementations, said Guthrie.
Connect 2017 also gave Microsoft an opportunity to tout its membership in yet another open-source foundation.
The company has joined the MariaDB Foundation as a platinum member. MariaDB is a popular relational database management system developed by MySQL's creators. "Microsoft is here to learn from and contribute to the MariaDB ecosystem," MariaDB and MySQL founder Monty Widenius, said in a Nov. 15 announcement. "MariaDB Foundation welcomes and supports Microsoft towards this goal.”
Apart from lending some of its technical expertise to the community, Microsoft is working on a cloud service built on the open source database, called simply Azure Database for MariaDB. More information, plus a sign-up link for the service's upcoming preview release, is available here.
In another open-source move, Microsoft announced that it had partnered with GitHub on bringing the Git Virtual File System (GVFS) extension to the leading code repository and project management platform and porting it to Mac and Linux, according to Microsoft corporate vice president Brian Harry.
The technology, which is used in Microsoft's own Visual Studio Team Services, has also been adopted by Altassian and Bitbucket. In terms of Git client software solutions, gmaster and Tower Git both feature GVFS support.