Microsoft Releases Azure SQL Data Warehouse for the Cloud

Today's topics include the release of Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse, IBM's announcement that it will deliver a new secure blockchain services for the cloud, the U.S. government's plan to invest $400 million in 5G wireless research and Forrester Research's prediction the United Kingdom's Brexit vote could drive down the tech market in Europe.

Microsoft's elastic cloud data warehousing offering, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, is finally generally available, the software giant announced on July 14. Microsoft first announced the data warehousing system during the company's Build 2015 developer conference and spent more than a year testing it.

Now customers can create data warehouses that dynamically grow and shrink to accommodate their query performance requirements and IT budgets, kicking off Azure big data projects with support and service guarantees of an official release.

In addition to shedding the "preview" tag, Azure SQL Data Warehouse makes its debut with a handful of new features. As promised back in March, the system now supports the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 2016 configuration and management toolset.

IBM has delivered a new secure blockchain service on the IBM Cloud. The new service, now in a limited beta test program, is targeted at companies and organizations in regulated industry sectors—such as government, financial services and healthcare—where there is a need to test and run blockchain applications in private.

The new secure blockchain service runs on IBM's LinuxONE systems, which the company claims is the most secure Linux-only server on the market.

The Obama administration is launching a $400 million initiative to drive research into advanced wireless technologies that officials say will bring 100 times the speed of current 4G LTE networks, a move that comes a day after federal regulators voted to open more U.S. airwaves to 5G wireless networks and applications.

The $400 million Advanced Wireless Research Initiative will be led by the National Science Foundation, and is only one of several government-led efforts unveiled July 15 that are designed to accelerate the development of lightning-fast, low-latency wireless, high-capacity networks throughout the country and drive innovation around such emerging markets as self-driving cars, virtual reality, smart cities and the Internet of things. They also will make devices likes smartphones significantly faster.

The decision by British voters last month to take England out of the European Union will drive down tech markets not only in the United Kingdom, but throughout much of Europe and the fallout will be felt for at least the next couple of years, according to analysts with Forrester Research.

In addition, the Brexit vote also could be a precursor of other challenges in Europe that could impact tech spending in what is the world's second-largest tech market, behind the United States, according to a Forrester report released July 13.

The vote introduced an array of uncertainties into the market—including whether Scotland and Northern Ireland will stay in the UK or remain with the EU, London remains the financial center of the region or it shifts to Paris or Frankfurt, or other countries decide to leave the EU—that will have a ripple effect beyond the U.K.'s borders, they wrote.

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