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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Announces the General Availability of Azure Time Series Insight

Microsoft Announces the General Availability of Azure Time Series Insight

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On the 15th of November, Microsoft made Azure Time Series Insights (TSI) generally available. The service is part of Microsoft's Internet of Things (IoT) platform and has emerged earlier this year in April as a preview. Later in August, it received several updates including root cause analysis. 

Since the preview of TSI hundreds of customers, including ThyssenKrupp, and Steelcase, pushed billions of events into this service for use in their production environments. Ray Waite, director of big data products at Microsoft, said on the Azure blog:

Now, customers with large volumes of time series data have a scalable, commercial-grade solution for storing and analyzing data without the headache and expense of tedious resource management.

In various scenarios such as improving operations, analyzing wind farm data, and conducting root cause analysis, customers have leveraged the TSI service. The near-real-time analysis capability helps customers to create value for their business and customers. Scott Tillman, software engineer at ThyssenKrupp Elevator said:

Time to detect and diagnose a problem has dropped from days to minutes. With just a few clicks we can visualize the end-to-end device data flow, helping us identify and address customer and market needs.

At the heart of Azure TSI is a database designed to handle time series data. It furthermore provides:

  • An explorer that will give the end user a view of all data streaming into the environment.
  • Tools like patterns and perspective views, enabling the end user to conduct and save multi-step root-analysis.
  • Connectivity to multiple event sources like IoT- and Event Hub.
  • REST Query API’s enabling building custom application that uses time series data.

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Enterprises can build custom applications on top of TSI leveraging the query API’s. Steelcase, a leading manufacturer of furniture for offices, hospitals, and classrooms, has built its Workplace Advisor application on top of TSI. Scott King, software engineering lead at Steelcase, explains:

We are constantly working to help our customers reimagine how they can empower their workforce to work more efficiently in their workplace. To do this well, we needed a place to capture and store large volumes of time series data, make calculations with that data on the fly in real-time, and aggregate that data, so it’s easier to view and explore in our application. Time Series Insights APIs have enabled us to provide real-time visibility across workspaces around the globe, giving our customers the ability to intuitively gain insights and make informed decisions on how to optimize the workplace. We chose to build on TSI because of the speed it allows us to dynamically query our data, its interval chunking, and aggregation capabilities.

Not only have Azure customers leveraged the APIs, Microsoft IoT Central and the pre-configured Azure IoT connected Factory solution, are these APIs too.

The TSI service is generally available in the regions of Europe and the US with an SLA of 99,9%. Moreover, customers can now store data over a retention period of 400 days, which means they can, for instance, do a fast multi-site asset comparisons over a rolling year of data. Currently, TSI is available in two SKU’s, S1 and S2, each priced per unit per month with a maximum number of 10 units. More details on pricing are available at Time Series Insight Pricing.

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Microsoft will enhance the TSI service even more, with:

  • integration to PowerBI, enabling customers to directly access time series data
  • further expanding the storage retention
  • adding built-in anomaly detection
  • and making the TSI explorer generally available.

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