Azure Data Explorer gets new engine, numerous enhancements and Synapse integration

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An Azure Data Explorer dashboard


Credit: Microsoft

Today, at a dedicated online event for Azure Data Explorer (ADX), Microsoft is announcing numerous enhancements to the service, including a next-gen release of the underlying engine and an array of integration points that should make it more accessible, more enticing and more useful. ADX, which is most often used for telemetry data lake workloads and analytical solutions as a service, will now run even faster overall than it had, will have numerous optimizations and will connect with a variety of other data services, streaming data sources and data visualization solutions. This will help a service that’s been very successful but not especially well-known, even among Azure analytics experts, achieve more mainstream appeal.

Performance gains galore

What new features are coming to ADX? To start with, Microsoft’s introducing a new version of the core engine (in preview, with GA expected in February), which takes a wholly different strategy to querying data. The Kusto v3 engine will generate multiple versions of the desired query, use the fastest, and compile it to native code before executing, so that it runs at maximum speed. The indexing layer in the v3 engine has also been rewritten. As a result of these changes, Microsoft says queries will run between 2x and 30x faster.

And beyond this raw performance gain, ADX will now offer self-refreshing materialized views, query result set caching and configurable sharding/partitioning. Near real time scoring with machine learning models — including those hosted on Azure Machine Learning as well as those from other platforms, packaged in ONNX format — is being added as well. Fast Fourier Transforms, geospatial joins and polynomial regression are onboarding too. ADX is also getting row-level security capabilities that will make it more appealing to customers who want to support a wide

Big Tech’s market dominance spurs numerous U.S. antitrust probes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The four Big Tech companies — Alphabet’s Google <GOOGL.O>, Amazon <AMZN.O>, Apple <AAPL.O> and Facebook <FB.O> — face an array of antitrust investigations at the federal and state level which were revealed in mid-2019.

While Democrats may be viewed as tougher on antitrust regulation, traditional Republican concerns about regulatory overreach appear to be overridden by anger over allegations that Big Tech tries to stifle conservative voices.

These are the inquiries that are underway:

Justice Department on Google: The U.S. Justice Department is expected to file a relatively narrow complaint within two weeks, which accuses Google of seeking to disadvantage rivals in search and in lucrative search advertising.

Justice Department on Apple: This probe, which was revealed in June 2019, appears to focus on Apple’s app store. Some app developers have accused Apple of introducing new products and then pushing out apps which compete with them. Apple says it seeks to have only the highest quality apps in the app store.

Justice Department on Facebook and Amazon: In July 2019, the Justice Department said that it was expanding its Big Tech probes to include “search, social media, and some retail services online” — an apparent reference to Facebook and Amazon as well.

Federal Trade Commission on Facebook: FTC officials probing Facebook have asked about past acquisitions, like Instagram and WhatsApp, and how Facebook treats app developers on its platform. The FTC told Facebook in June 2019 it was probing whether the company has engaged in unlawful monopolistic practices.

Federal Trade Commission on Amazon: In its probe of Amazon, the FTC is likely looking at the inherent conflict of interest of Amazon competing with small sellers on its marketplace platform, including allegations that it used information from sellers on its platform to decide what products it would introduce.

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