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Ignite 2021: Key announcements for the Microsoft Azure community

by Eamon McCarthy Earls
Assistant Editor,

Microsoft Ignite 2021 is here, and with it a slate of news and updates from the Azure team. Let's review some of the key cloud announcements Microsoft will lead with this week.

AI and databases

[caption caption="Azure OpenAI Service uses GPT-3 to convert transcripts of live television commentary"][/caption]

Microsoft announced the preview of Cognitive Services OpenAI Service. Equipped with GPT-3 models, the offering is geared toward code and content generation. Currently it remains invitation only. Cognitive Service for Language and tier pricing for Cognitive Services are both generally available.

Managed Instance for Apache Cassandra has reached general avialability, with the goal of expanding Cassandra workloads to the cloud.

Azure Cosmos DB is introducing a set of new features that make it easier for developers to build and maintain cost-effective application databases and easily migrate Apache Cassandra data to the cloud. Microsoft stated:

Cost-control and productivity enhancements include customizable provisioned throughput spending limits, cost-savings alerts in Azure Advisor and partial document updates for the Core (SQL) API. The latter was among the most-requested features by customers because of the significant developer productivity benefits alongside programming flexibility.

Synapse Analytics is adding industry-specific database templates, real-time telemetry analytics, and Event Hubs Premium—a linked service intended to boost performance for data streaming workloads.

SQL Server 2022 is now in preview, as are Link, a feature to connect SQL servers with SQL Managed Instance, and Intel Ice Lake processors for Managed Instance. Flexible Server deployment options for Database for MySQL and PostgreSQL will be available later this month.

A more resilient Azure?

Microsoft included a new product in its Ignite announcements: Chaos Studio. Described as a “fully managed experimentation platform,” Chaos Studio gives customers a chance to intentionally disrupt apps to spot and mitigate potential issues.

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About Eamon McCarthy Earls

As the assistant editor at, Eamon helps to oversee editorial content on the site and supports site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Before joining, Eamon was editor for at TechTarget, where he covered networking technology, IoT, and cybersecurity. He is also the author of multiple books and previously contributed to publications such as the Boston Globe, Milford Daily News, and DefenceWeb.