Developing Modern Data Applications Using the Power of AI with Azure Databases
Creating AI-powered applications is a natural fit for the Microsoft Azure cloud, but sorting out all the different options for the backing data stores can seem daunting.
All developers are looking for an edge to build applications that are data-driven and harness the power AI, and Azure Databases provide a range of options for secure, scalable and highly available data applications using all the latest languages.
Microsoft's "Databases on Azure" guidance sums up many of the different options: "Develop AI-ready, trusted applications with a range of relational and non-relational databases and keep your focus on application development and innovation, not database management. Intelligence built-in helps automate management tasks like high availability, scaling, and query performance tuning so your applications are always on and ready. Trust Azure for built-in data security controls, broad regional coverage, and more compliance offerings to help strengthen your security posture and support your business growth."
Some of the options Azure offers include :
Purpose-Built Cloud Databases
- Azure Cosmos DB: Fast, distributed NoSQL and relational database at any scale -- Develop high-performance applications of any size or scale with a fully managed and serverless distributed database supporting open source PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Apache Cassandra as well as Java, Node.JS, Python, and .NET.
- Azure SQL Database: Flexible, fast, and elastic SQL database for your new apps -- Build apps that scale with a fully managed and intelligent SQL database built for the cloud. Grow your applications with near-limitless storage capacity and responsive serverless compute, backed by AI-based advanced security.
Open Source Databases
- Azure Database for PostgreSQL: Fully managed, intelligent, and scalable PostgreSQL database -- Innovate faster with a fully managed PostgreSQL database service for open-source developers building scalable and secure enterprise-ready apps.
- Azure Database for MySQL: Scalable, open-source MySQL database -- Develop apps with a fully managed community MySQL database service delivering high availability, mission-critical performance, and elastic scaling for open-source developers building mobile and web apps.
- Azure Database for MariaDB: Fully managed, community MariaDB -- Build with a fully managed community MariaDB database service delivering high availability and elastic scaling for open-source developers.
- Azure Cache for Redis: Distributed, in-memory, scalable caching -- Accelerate your application's data layer with an in-memory data store that offers increased speed and scale for web applications, backed by the open-source Redis server.
Sorting out all those options and choosing the right tech for your particular application is so important it's the topic of a keynote address at the upcoming Visual Studio Live! developer conference slated for March in Las Vegas.
The keynote, titled "Developing Modern Data Applications Using the Power of AI with Azure Databases," will show you when and where to use the family of Azure Databases including Azure SQL Database, Azure Database for PostgreSQL, Azure Cosmos DB, and Azure Database for MySQL.
"You will see how to build applications to power AI applications driven by data and also AI technologies that speed up your development and improve quality with Microsoft Copilot technologies," said Bob Ward, one of the keynote presenters. The Principal Architect for Microsoft Azure Data will be presenting along with Davide Mauri, Principal Product Manager at Microsoft.
"You will also see various new options on how to use new techniques to access data with less code and integrate your data with Microsoft Fabric," Ward said.
Attendees are promised to learn:
- When and where to use various Azure Database choices
- How to build-driven AI applications and how to use Copilot experiences to improve the developer experience
- New experiences on how to access your data to save time and code
We recently caught up with Ward to learn more about his March 6 keynote in a short Q&A.
VSLive! You have such an impressive background. What inspired you to first get involved in data-driven development?
Ward: My first data development projects were on Unix systems writing C code with Ingres (the predecessor of today's PostgreSQL). I was working on healthcare applications, and I saw from that moment how important data is to any business or application. And I found out it was helpful to not just learn to build great code but learn the database side as well to write efficient queries and understand how a database worked. Learning these skills together helped really give me so many career opportunities.
With various Azure Database options like Azure SQL Database, Azure Database for PostgreSQL, Cosmos DB and Azure Database for MySQL, how does a developer determine the best choice for a particular data-driven application?
I realize looking at this lineup can feel a bit overwhelming. We will talk more about this in the keynote, but here is a way to look at it. If you like SQL Server and this is your preferred choice, then Azure SQL Database is perfect for you. But I have some customers who prefer an open source database and still want that "relational" feel. So, I tell him if you want to go that route, we have excellent options for managed cloud databases such as Azure PostgreSQL or MySQL per your choice and experiences. Azure Cosmos DB has traditionally been thought of as a "NoSQL" database. If you love working with native JSON data, you can easily use Cosmos DB. Cosmos DB now also offers experiences including integration with PostgreSQL and MongoDB.
"The great thing about all of these database options is that they take advantage of the power of Azure. This includes experiences for your favorite APIs and managed security, scalability, and availability. But most importantly all of them can be used to build new AI data-driven applications integrating with services like Azure OpenAI. We will talk about this in the keynote and have demos for you to see it in action."
Bob Ward, Principal Architect, Microsoft Azure Data, Microsoft
The great thing about all of these database options is that they take advantage of the power of Azure. This includes experiences for your favorite APIs and managed security, scalability, and availability. But most importantly all of them can be used to build new AI data-driven applications integrating with services like Azure OpenAI. We will talk about this in the keynote and have demos for you to see it in action.
In your personal experience, can you share one example of how GitHub Copilot and Chat improve the development process and enhance quality?
I can't wait to show some of the innovations here for developers. For me already the capabilities for GitHub Copilot to help me get started to build data applications is incredible, all right within the comfort of tools like Visual Studio or VS Code. But there are some other new experiences people may not know about -- our Microsoft Copilot story -- that will help developers. And we can't wait to show it to you during the keynote.
What future trends do you foresee in the integration of AI and database technologies?
Right now it feels the huge need is to build generative AI applications, but with their data. And there are many different methods to do this. So, what I see in the future is a merging of these methods into a smaller set of options that give developers the best way to build these applications quickly. I also see the concept of hybrid searching and even the use of small language models to become more popular over time. And per the previous question on Copilots, I believe we will see an explosion of this to help developers build and ship code faster but more efficient, performant, secure and with fewer bugs.
What do you hope people take away from your keynote?
The most important takeaway I want people to get from the keynote is that Azure Databases all-up are fully managed cloud database services you can rely on today and in the future to build intelligent AI data-driven applications. Our team is committed to staying on top of all the new innovations in AI and ensuring developers have what they need for real-world applications that are data driven using the power of AI without having to give up on the tried-and-true database capabilities of security, scalability and availability.
Note: Those wishing to attend the conference can save hundreds of dollars by registering early, according to the event's pricing page. "Register for VSLive! Las Vegas by the Feb. 9 Extended Early Bird Deadline to save $300 and secure your seat for intensive developer training in exciting Las Vegas!" said the organizer of the developer conference.
Posted by David Ramel on 02/05/2024