MS Build 2017:Microsoft Uses Cloud + AI to Redefine Itself

Recently, various tech companies’ big events came one after another. Microsoft Build 2017, Nvidia Technology Conference 2017, Dell and OpenStack Summit Boston are most held at the same time, which arise the climax in the tech and the Internet industry. 

Among these big events, Microsoft Build 2017 released multiple new technologies, new products, and solutions for developers, helping the company to gain complimentary comments from the industry. Also, there are much content worthy of sharing. It may be a little serious to common C end users, but these new technologies and products still make Microsoft have more advantages in the education field. MS Build 2017 shows the company has already paid more attention to further development. 

From Cloud Computing to Edge Computing

In Microsoft’s keynote, cloud service Azure becomes a significant role, which almost throughout this 3 hours’ speech. 

  • First, Microsoft announced new cloud service named as Azure IoT Edge which can expand the intelligence of cloud computing and more advantages of it to IoT edge devices. The new cloud service can provide orchestration between code and services, so that they can flow between cloud and edge devices securely, to provide intelligent services for IoT devices.  Developers can also cluster Microsoft Azure and other third-party services, and also can expand existing services and create user-defined applications via their own business logic. Azure IoT Edge can perform computing from local computing devices to save time, while it can support multi-platform operation on Linux and Windows. 
  • Additionally, Microsoft also released Microsoft Graph extended service that can connect the business internal rules in working environment and device data to perception complexly associated with the real world. 

Cloud Platform for All Developers & Development Tools for Any Platform and Devices

After an overall introduction made by MS CEO, Satya Nadella, Microsoft Azure Director, Scott Guthrie made a detailed introduction to Azure cloud services. In fact, for Microsoft, Azure has already surpassed Windows and become one of the most important businesses, among which new Microsoft Azure and Visual Studio services and tools can help developers make modernized upgrades on current applications, and create intelligent applications for all major platforms. 

  • Azure Cosmos DB is the first global distributed multi-model database in the industry. It offers high availability, high throughout, and high data consistency, ensuring latency at the 99th percentile. Users can use Azure Cosmos DB to quickly and easily arrange databases across global regions via 1 click, so that various regions’ information will sync. Azure Cosmos is also good at flexibility because of free models. It can not only support popular NoSQL API, but also provide five consistency levels clearly defined for choosing. Meanwhile, it also can automatically set up index for all data.

  • The availability of MySQL hosting and PostgreSQL hosting with Azure SQL Database cannot only provide more options and greater flexibility to developers, but also ensure high availability of PaaS, so that it can scale up with near zero application downtime, ensuring data security and data recovery capability. 
  • Microsoft database transfer service newly features early-stage preview, which can help Oracle and SQL Server users more easily to transfer their data and quickly make modernized upgrade on their own apps.  
  • The improvements of Azure SQL Database: new hosting instance opens limited preview to offer users SQL Server hosting instance-level compatibility, making it easier for enterprises to migrate their SQL Server applications to Azure SQL Database. Meanwhile, Threat Detection officially gets on line and the availability of preview for Graph support also comes. 
  • Microsoft officially announced the availability for Visual Studio 2017 for Mac for commercial use. It brings an integrated development environment (IDE) for developers seamlessly working on Windows and Mac, and a single environment for working on end-to-end solutions from mobile and web pages to cloud. Visual Studio 2017 for Max also provides Dockers tools, Azure Functions and the preview for Xamarin.IoT supporting functions. 
  • Azure Service Fabric officially now supports Windows Server Containers. With Visual Studio as tools, the function of supporting for Docker Compose for deploying containerized applications to Service Fabric has now featured preview. Microsoft announced the general availability of containers support, helping developers to deliver the scalable apps and services for critical business.
  • DocuSign’s customer groups are rapidly expanding, now covering 300,000 companies and more than 200 million users from 188 countries and districts. It also announced that Microsoft Azure has become the top option for expending global business and Canada would be the first station. DocuSign uses Azure SQL Database to deal with massive digital transactions.  

More Easy-to-Use Office 365 for Developers

At MS Build 2017, Microsoft released many new updates on Office 365, and most of them are developed for enterprise users. 

  • Developers can issue embedded applications in Microsoft Teams which is an enterprise collaborative office application as part of Office 365, issued last year. Now, developers can add apps in Microsoft Teams, and even they can add new functions for Teams apps. For example, they can add a third-party push notifications and composite extensions and interchange information in information flow. 
  • Microsoft opens news Microsoft Graph API access for developers, including SharePoint and Planer’s API. Microsoft Graph enables developers to access Office 365 data and intelligence, and to build connection between contacts, dialogues, projects, schedules, process, and content. These insights can help developers create more intelligent applications and construct smarter working modes. 
  • For those developers and ISV running their production SaaS applications on Microsoft Azure and registering on Azure website, Microsoft allows them to automatically extend their apps’ data and workflow to the authorized Office 365 users, as long as they go through the standard PowerApps and Microsoft Flow access. To further help ISV expand business, Microsoft also provides additional bonus to sales teams, so as to encourage them to sell enterprise customers the qualified SaaS applications and services developed by ISV.

AI for Each Developers and Each Single Person

There is no doubt that AI has become a highlight in all tech companies’ conference. For Microsoft, as tech giant, it has powerful scientific research strength, and its AI technology brings much content worthy of sharing. At MS Build 2017, it is Vice President globally Shen Xiangyang that made the AI introduction.

  • Microsoft cognitive service has increased the number of intelligent API access to 29, and the company is also the only one allowing customizing API. With these API, developers can add vision, voice, language, knowledge, and search intelligent apps into any application scenes, and directly use existing features or customization to create their own intelligent aps and robot experience. New API services include Bing custom search, custom vision service, custom decision-making services, and video index. 

  • Presentation Translator, as a plugin of PowerPoint, utilizes Microsoft Translation API access to translate the playing PPT into different languages in real time. For many businessmen, the new plugin is wonderful. 
  • Microsoft Bot Framework now supports for adaptive card, which allows developers to code once time but be used for multiple apps and platforms. With Microsoft Bot Framework, they can also directly dock to more new channels, including Bing, Cortana, and Skype for Business. Also, they can request API via Microsoft payment to more quickly and conveniently check out by using their Microsoft chatting robot. 
  • Azure Batch AI Training is a new function of Azure, and now there is only limited preview available. It allows developers and data scientists to utilize parameter to configure operating environment. So, they can operate their own data mode in different environments such as multi-CPU and multi-GPU. 
  • Microsoft respectively partners HP and Intel to develop devices and reference platforms, so as to create more AI devices for support Cortana. 
  • Cortana Skills Kit opens public preview. By creating a robot and placing it into Microsoft Bot Framework’ new Cortana channel, developers can add new features for Cortana. The service supports Windows 10, Android, iOS, and Haman Kartun Invoke loudspeaker with built-in Cortana. By far, Cortana Skills Kit is only available in America. 


In the Microsoft Build 2016, Microsoft mainly focused on Windows 10, conversation as a platform, and HoloLens, which was closer to common users. However, Microsoft Build 2017 looks at developers closer, and makes a lot on enterprise productivity service tools such as Azure, Office 365, and Visual Studio. Also, cloud and AI becomes two staples in this event. Taking MS Build 2016 into consideration together, we can see that Microsoft will focus on cloud, AI, VR/AR and its traditional advantages – Windows OS and Office in the next few years. 

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