Microsoft, like any other major tech company today, is all about big data. As more companies demand more data, Microsoft will have to step in with even bigger offerings on its server platforms to serve those needs. To that end, Microsoft has outlined its vision for the future of big data, SQL and its other data platforms.
Quentin Clark, Corporate Vice President for the Data Platform Group at Microsoft, recently took to the SQL blog to talk about the recent changes that hit Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Office 2013. Of particular note, he says that the changes are meant to help prepare Microsoft for the shift from local databases to cloud computing.
Today’s economy is built on the data platform that emerged with the microprocessor era—effectively, transactional SQL databases, relational data warehousing and operational BI. An entire cycle of business growth was led by the emergence of patterns around Systems of Record, everything from ERP applications to Point of Sale systems. The shift to cloud computing is bringing with it a new set of application patterns, which I sometimes refer to as Systems of Observation (SoO). There are several forms of these new application patterns: the Internet of Things (IoT), generally; solutions being built around application and customer analytics; and, consumer personalization scenarios.
Later on, Clark says that the way data is being used by enterprise customers is changing. He points to diverse data sets that oftentimes now come from outside of the enterprise itself as a primary reason for Microsoft's change to embrace the cloud's ability to process even larger data sets. He also points to the rise in different kinds of analytics - like machine learning and application telemetry - as further reason to invest in the future of big data.
Interestingly enough, Clark also points of data by-products as being useful in today's day and age. Whereas previously these by-products would be cast aside in favor of data related to the core business, Clark notes that all data is important to the business looking to catch more consumers. To that end, Microsoft wants to provide the services necessary for businesses to capitalize on this data:
With these characteristics in mind, our vision is to provide a great platform and solutions for our customers to realize the new value of information and to empower new experiences with data. This platform needs to span across the cloud and the enterprise – where so much key information and business processes exist. We want to deliver Big Data solutions to the masses through the power of SQL Server and related products, Windows Azure data services, and the BI capabilities of Microsoft Office. To do this, we are taking steps to ensure our data platform meets the demands of today’s modern business.
It's through all this that Clark says Microsoft will work in 2014 to offer its enterprise customers modern transaction processing, modern data warehousing and modern business intelligence through the upgrades made to its SQL, Azure and other cloud platforms. In the coming months, it will further discuss the trends it sees in big data and invite the community to share their thoughts on where it's going.
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