Microsoft launches its Azure Data Factory integration service out of preview

Microsoft today announced the general availability of Azure Data Factory (ADF), a cloud service for data integration — the process of aggregating data from multiple sources so that people can analyze it all later.

“With ADF, existing data processing services can be composed into data pipelines that are highly available and managed in the cloud,” Joseph Sirosh, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of information management and machine learning, wrote in a blog post on the news today. “These data pipelines can be scheduled to ingest, prepare, transform, analyze, and publish data, and ADF will manage and orchestrate all of the complex data and processing dependencies without human intervention. Solutions can be quickly built and deployed in the cloud, connecting a growing number of on-premises and cloud data sources.”

ADF first became available in public preview in October.

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Since then, Microsoft has capitalized on all the attention its Cortana personal digital assistant has gotten by announcing the Cortana Analytics Suite, a bundle that the tech giant will sell in a monthly subscription. ADF is “a foundational component of the Cortana Analytics Suite,” Sirosh wrote, as it “stitches together and orchestrates a comprehensive set of services, including Azure HDInsight, Azure ML, Power BI and more, to bridge the gap between pervasive data and actionable intelligence.”

But as a standalone service, ADF has to compete with other cloud services from data integration companies like Talend and Informatica.

And other public cloud vendors have tools for handling data integration. Market leader Amazon Web Services has AWS Data Pipeline, and Google has Cloud Dataflow.

The public cloud wars are waged on pricing and geographical availability, not just features, but Microsoft clearly wants to have a diverse feature set in the public cloud. The company wants to “build the intelligent cloud platform,” as chief executive Satya Nadella noted in an email to employees in June. A tool that can bring together data from many sources, clean it up, and feed it into applications is probably a good idea, then.

Customers of the new service include Milliman, Rockwell Automation, Alaska Airlines, and Real Madrid CF, Sirosh wrote.

Microsoft Azure is a cloud computing platform and infrastructure, created by Microsoft, for building, deploying and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed datacenters. It provides both platform… read more »

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