Microsoft Preps for Azure Machine Learning Launch
The company prepares to unveil a new cloud-based offering to help businesses quickly set up predictive analytics services without gutting their IT budgets.Next month, Microsoft will kick off a preview of Azure Machine Learning (Azure ML), a new cloud-based service aimed at helping businesses jump-start their predictive analytics initiatives. A Microsoft spokesperson commented in an email to eWEEK that the upcoming offering "will allow developers and data scientists to build advanced analytic cloud services in minutes and hours, eliminating much of the heavy lifting associated with deploying machine learning in modern data-driven applications." Azure ML will provide customers with "the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to manage and deploy machine learning from the Azure portal," said the company representative. Microsoft is working on "a fully managed cloud service for building predictive analytics solutions," wrote Joseph Sirosh, corporate vice president of machine learning at Microsoft, in a June 16 blog post. By toiling for just a few hours, customers and partners "can build data-driven applications to predict, forecast and change future outcomes—a process that previously took weeks and months," he claimed. Azure ML is Microsoft's solution for an industry-wide problem that's keeping organizations from capitalizing on advanced business analytics. A big data skills shortage, combined with the cost of implementing and maintaining a big data IT environment, in both time and money, makes it a non-starter for many businesses.
Sirosh noted that data scientists are in "short supply"—good news for job seekers, but bad news for enterprises. Salaries in the $300,000-per-year range are common as businesses scramble to get them on the payroll.