Azure Container Service introduced by Microsoft

Mictosoft Azure introduces AKS, managed Kubernetes service
24 October 2017   1048

Microsoft's public cloud computing platform, Microsoft Azure, announces the preview of AKS (Azure Container Service), the company's new managed Kubernetes service. With the new service, it is even easier to manage and operate Kubernetes environments, all without sacrificing portability.

AKS features an Azure-hosted control plane, automated upgrades, self-healing, easy scaling, and a simple user experience for both developers and cluster operators. With AKS, customers get the benefit of open source Kubernetes without complexity and operational overhead. 

Azure’s container efforts are now lead by Brendan Burns, co-creator of Kubernetes.

AKS, managed Kubernetes service
AKS, managed Kubernetes service

While Azure Container Service has been available since 2015, the new features and innovative pricing are focused on Kubernetes, which has emerged as the open source standard for container orchestration.

We also see continued interest in other orchestrator deployments such as Docker Enterprise and Mesosphere DC/OS, including MetLife and ESRI.  As a result, we will continue to support the existing ACS deployment engine in Azure for simple creation of popular open source container solutions.

Gabe Monroy 
PM Lead, Containers, Microsoft Azure

In addition to the launch of AKS, the company also announces the general availability of managed SKUs Azure Container Registry (ACR), which provides a private registry that scales to your needs through three new sizes.

Microsoft to Use AI to Create Human Voice

Synthetic voice is nearly indistinguishable from recordings of people
27 September 2018   692

Researchers from Microsoft recorded computer voice, imitating human speech. To overcome the difficulties of the traditional model, they used neural networks for speech synthesis. Microsoft promises to provide support for 49 languages ​​and the ability to create unique voices for the needs of companies in the near future.

Synthesis of speech with the help of neural networks involves comparing the stress and length (so-called prosody) of the speaker's speech units, as well as their synthesis into a computer voice. In systems of traditional speech synthesis, prosody is divided into acoustic and linguistic analysis, controlled by various models. As a result, the speech is noisy and indistinct. Representatives of Microsoft argue that in the model of neural synthesis two stages are combined into one, so the voice sounds like a real one.

The developers are convinced that the synthesis of speech with the help of neural networks will make it more natural to communicate with virtual interlocutors and assistants. Moreover, it will enable you to convert e-books into audiobooks and will allow you to change the scoring of built-in navigators.

Microsoft Neural TTS
Microsoft Neural TTS

Azure computing power is available for real-time use, and Azure Kubernetes is responsible for this. Simultaneous application of neural synthesis of speech together with traditional speaks about expansion and increase of availability of service. At the moment, there are a female voice named Jessa and a man named Guy.

Microsoft is competing in speech recognition and synthesis technologies with Google, which updated its services in late August 2018. Google Cloud announced the release of a stable API for the synthesis of speech Cloud Text-to-Speech with the experimental function of audio profiles and support for several new languages.