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Microsoft Unveils Azure Purview To ‘Map All Your Data’ Across Environments

The company also announced general availability for the Azure Synapse data warehousing and analytics service.

Microsoft on Thursday unveiled a “unified data governance service” as part of its Azure cloud platform, Azure Purview, that can discover and catalog all of an organization’s data across all environments and locations.

Now in public preview, the service will initially be targeted for discovering data, gaining insights faster and managing compliance with privacy regulations, Microsoft said.

[Related: Satya Nadella’s 5 Biggest Statements At Microsoft Ignite 2020]

The Redmond, Wash.-based company also announced the general availability of its next-generation data warehousing and analytics service, Azure Synapse, on Thursday.

For Azure Purview, Microsoft said the service developed out of its own internal work to improve privacy compliance and digital transformation efforts.

The service can automate data discovery and cataloging across all on-premises and multi-cloud environments, as well as software-as-a-service locations, Microsoft said.

“Purview is the only cloud service that helps you map all your data, no matter where it resides. And it provides the critical information you need to govern data use and assess compliance risks,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in prerecorded remarks, during an online event announcing the service on Thursday. “Purview provides an end-to-end view of your data estate that previously was impossible.”

Azure Purview’s main components include data discovery, classification and mapping, including evaluation of the data’s sensitivity and characteristics.

Azure Purview also catalogs the data--allowing users to search through it using a web portal--and provides visual graphs of the data, as well.

Finally, Azure Purview provides “a bird’s-eye view of a company’s data landscape,” which enables more-efficient governance of data use, Microsoft said.

At Netrix, No. 183 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, Azure Purview is expected to come into play often while the solution provider is engaging with customers around Microsoft solutions, said Netrix Partner Ryan Williams.

“We always get to the point where the customer most wants to dive into governance and security,” said Williams, who is also associate director for modern applications and data intelligence at Bannockburn, Ill.-based Netrix.

But once the governance policies are in place, the solution provider must also ensure that the policies are being followed, he said.

“That’s where Purview is a great solution,” Williams said. “Instead of telling people, ‘This is what you have to follow,’ we now have some tools to help them follow these policies and processes and governance that we put in place. That’s the exciting part.”

Many solution providers including Netrix have built tools to help with some parts of what Azure Purview offers, but they’re typically for niche purposes and are not covering all of an organization’s data, he said. “Having something like [Purview] will get it to the next level,” Williams said.

While Azure Purview will be most relevant to larger businesses that have lots of data siloes, the capabilities of the service could be useful to businesses of all sizes, he said. It’s also likely to be an opportunity for growth at Netrix--through serving both existing and new customers, and through generating recurring revenue, Williams said.

“As we talk to customers and we help them get governance in place and get these processes in place, it‘s not something where we say, ‘OK now we’re done,’” he said. “Being able to offer that on an ongoing basis is important to our customers.”

Azure Purview complements the Azure Synapse analytics service, which was initially unveiled in November 2019.

Azure Synapse combines data warehousing with big-data analytics and data integration into a single service—enabling modernization of data warehouses, faster business insights and “an entirely new generation of SaaS applications,” Nadella said.

“Synapse gives you the freedom to query data on your terms at any scale and run real-time analytics over your operational data stores,” Nadella said. “Synapse is the foundation for unified analytics and insights. It brings together all your data capabilities in one place with deep integration across our services.”

The launch of the new Azure data services comes as “the case for digital transformation has never been more urgent,” Nadella said. “The next decade of economic performance for every business will be defined by the speed of their digital transformation.”

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