Differences between Azure Web Site and Azure Web Role

Main differences between two parts of Microsoft Azure 
23 August 2017   860

Let's figure out what are the differences between these two parts of Microsoft Azure. We've made two lists advantages for every part.

Web Roles give you several features beyond Web Apps (formerly Web Sites):

  • Ability to run elevated startup scripts to install apps, modify registry settings, install performance counters, fine-tune IIS, etc.
  • Ability to split an app up into tiers (maybe Web Role for front end, Worker Role for backend processing) and scale independently
  • Ability to RDP into your VM for debugging purposes
  • Network isolation
  • Dedicated virtual IP address, which allows web role instances in a cloud service to access IP-restricted Virtual Machines
  • ACL-restricted endpoints (added in Azure SDK 2.3, April 2014)
  • Support for any TCP/UDP ports (Web Sites are restricted to TCP 80/443)

Web Apps have advantages over Web Roles though:

  • Near-instant deployment with deployment history / rollbacks
  • Visual Studio Online, github, local git, ftp, CodePlex, DropBox, BitBucket deployment support
  • Ability to roll out one of numerous CMS's and frameworks, (like WordPress, Joomla, Django, MediaWiki, etc.)
  • Use of SQL Database or MySQL
  • Simple and fast to scale from free tier to shared tier to dedicated tier
  • Web Jobs
  • Backups of Web Site content
  • Built-in web-based debugging tools (simple cmd/powershell debug console, process explorer, diagnostic tools like log streaming, etc.)

Microsoft to Use AI to Create Human Voice

Synthetic voice is nearly indistinguishable from recordings of people
27 September 2018   703

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.