Microsoft also launched SQL Server 2014, and the big, new addition is in-memory technology that makes it faster than it's ever been, Nadella said, describing it as a "breakthrough product" that can process online transactions up to 30 times faster than previous versions of SQL Server.
SQL Server 2014 also runs its workloads in the Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service cloud, Nadella said. This means organizations can tier their SQL workloads in the cloud for "high availability," which means a consistent level of operational performance.
But all of this new technology won't help organizations if they don't adjust their culture to recognize that data analysis is crucial to business success, Nadella said at the event. Microsoft, which has long championed using its own software -- which it calls "eating your own dog food" -- has been using its big data tools to improve efficiency of its own operations, he said.
Customers that buy and use these products could save tons of money from the efficiencies they bring. IDC, in a new Microsoft-commissioned study, estimates that companies worldwide can save $1.6 trillion over the next four years by deploying tools that let them analyze and make use of their data stores.
But while the new technology is a big part of Microsoft's big data push, Hertz said what's even more important is the growing interconnectedness of the products it's rolling out, and the fact that Azure is everywhere in the background.
"The real story here is that Microsoft continues to break down barriers for their customers. Long gone are the days when Microsoft built walled gardens," Hertz told CRN. "Microsoft is now building platforms and services that can run anywhere, anytime and connect to anything."
PUBLISHED APRIL 16, 2014