I finally caught up on MS Build announcements. Here is my take:
1) Cognitive services
Microsoft has a rich history of research and some of the world’s best researchers work there. Microsoft invested in AI long before AI/ML was cool. It is to be expected that Microsoft services will be top notch. They did not disappoint. I actually tried their vision service few weeks ago and thought it worked quite well.
Microsoft will be in an intense battle here with Google, which also has exceptional talent and focus in this area. It would be hard to say who is better between these two, but my sense is that both Google and Microsoft are farther ahead than AWS and are smart to focus on it.
Back in the early 2000s, no one expected Microsoft to become a powerhouse of DB world with MS SQL Server, but they had managed to just do that. Microsoft has rich history of executing well in this area. I was excited about Cosmos DB and quick check of their pricing indicated to me that they got it right when compared to Google Spanner pricing. Azure Database also looks a respectable competitor to Google SQL and AWS RDS.
3) IoT Edge
This is to be expected and happy to see Microsoft continue focus on this. Microsoft has a richer customer base here that can benefit from IoT Edge than AWS, so if they execute well, they might as well hold the edge (pun intended).
It was important enough for Microsoft CEO to talk about it and not leave it for their Cloud EVP. This was refreshing to hear that Microsoft sees serverless as a core pillar of the future. Given Microsoft’s history with developers and developer tools, they are a right company to claim leadership in this, however, they are late to the market when compared to AWS, so they have lots of hardwork ahead of them.
5) On-prem components
I was never a fan of AzureStack or Microsoft’s strategy of pushing cloud functionality onto on-premises. AzureStack can not be a long term strategy for Microsoft, as it complicates the message and causes friction in the sales channel. I think they should brand AzureStack as a component of their overall Edge strategy and stop pushing it as Hybrid or Private cloud.
Thats all folks. Ignoring AzureStack, I would say Microsoft did overall a pretty good job in their keynotes. Also, all of their Day 1 keynote presenters and demos were smooth and to the point ( did not watch Day 2 since its all Windows ).