Azure AI Advancements: A Deep Dive Into The Latest Updates and Enhancements

Unlock the game-changing Azure AI advancements you need to know about today

Microsoft has revealed more than 100 enhancements and updates, including breakthroughs in AI infrastructure, new tools, and progress in adoption, productivity, and security. These updates will greatly impact those working with AI and highlight Microsoft Azure’s dedication to being the leading choice for AI on the cloud. This article walks you through the top Microsoft AI enhancements that every startup should be aware of.

Advancement in Azure’s AI Infrastructure

  • Azure’s AI Infrastructure is associated with the world’s computers, providing various solutions from cloud services to running highly advanced AI models. In addition, the latest enhancements expanded the options in terms of cost and performance throughout the Azure infrastructure technology stack, including the data center and the underlying silicon technology.

Personalized Silicon for AI and Enterprise Workloads

  • Microsoft Cloud now offers custom-built silicon dedicated to AI and enterprise tasks. This new silicon addition complements Microsoft’s existing offerings in collaboration with industry partners. The introduction of two innovative chips, Microsoft Azure Maia and Microsoft Azure Cobalt, reflects a holistic approach to hardware and software systems. The aim is to optimize performance and cost-effectiveness.

Microsoft Azure Maia is an AI Accelerator chip specifically designed to efficiently handle cloud-based training and inferencing for various AI workloads, such as OpenAI models, Bing, GitHub Copilot, and ChatGPT. On the other hand, Microsoft Azure Cobalt, a cloud-native chip based on Arm architecture, focuses on improving performance, power efficiency, and cost-effectiveness for general-purpose workloads.

The Fastest Remote and Local Storage Performances

  • Azure Boost is Microsoft Azure’s latest and most significant infrastructure enhancement and is now generally available. This feature facilitates greater network and storage performance at scale while also strengthening security and minimizing servicing disruptions. Azure Boost achieves this by offloading virtualization processes, traditionally handled by host servers, such as networking, storage, and host management, onto purpose-built hardware and software optimized for these tasks.

This innovation positions Microsoft to deliver the fastest remote and local storage performance currently available in the market. It boasts a remote storage performance of 12.5 Gbps throughput and 650K IOPS (input/output operations per second) and a local storage performance of 17.3 Gbps throughput and 3.8M IOPS.

Introducing New Virtual Machine and GPU Options

  • The latest GPU offerings include the ND MI300 v5 virtual machines equipped with AMD chips tailored for generative AI tasks and the NC H100 v5 virtual machines featuring the newest NVIDIA GPUs. Additionally, the upcoming NC H100 v5 Virtual Machine (VM) Series, currently in preview, is built on the latest NVL variant of the NVIDIA Hopper 100 (H100), promising expanded memory per GPU.

These new VM series aim to deliver enhanced performance, reliability, and efficiency for mid-range AI training and generative AI inferencing tasks. By offering increased memory per GPU within the VMs, customers can optimize data processing efficiency and elevate overall workload performance.

The General Availability of Vector Search and Semantic Ranker

  • azure ai advancementsAzure AI Search, previously known as Azure Cognitive Search, offers startups a powerful information search and retrieval platform. This platform enables them to deliver personalized experiences in their generative AI applications. With Vector Search now generally available, startups can provide highly accurate experiences for each user.

Additionally, Semantic Ranker, formerly known as semantic search, is also accessible, featuring multilingual, deep learning models adapted from Microsoft Bing. This functionality enables startups to deliver the most relevant search results efficiently.

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