Cloud computing started as a cost-effective, flexible way to consume storage and compute, but over the last few years it has become so much more. Higher-level services are taking center stage, ushering in a new era of “intelligence” – powered by automation and driven by data insights – that is transforming how business is done. Enterprises, startups, hobbyists and developers of all types are helping to fuel this transformation.

Today at Build 2015, we announced new tools and services to help developers of all types advance this transformation and create more intelligent apps that easily leverage massive amounts of data. With Microsoft Azure, these developers are able to take advantage of previously unimaginable levels of flexibility, productivity and data insights to build the world’s applications.

New services to power big data insights
Most businesses make decisions on a fraction of the data available to them, and this often leads to incorrect conclusions that can cost companies billions. But we believe that businesses should be able to derive insights from all of their data, no matter where it is stored, what format it is in and not matter how big that data is. To realize that vision, today we announced new services that will help developers build more intelligent apps to power more intelligent business decisions.

Azure SQL Data Warehouse takes data analytics to new levels of scale and efficiency. It offers developers the industry’s first enterprise-grade data warehouse that supports petabytes of data and scales compute separately from storage to bring the pay-per-use economics of cloud to data warehousing – ultimately offering 75 percent savings over other cloud data warehouse offerings.

In addition, we introduced the new Azure Data Lake service, a nearly infinite data repository that supports petabyte-size files and all types of data. Machine learning and big data services from Microsoft, and partners like Cloudera and Hortonworks, are integrated into Data Lake to give developers high-performance ways to store, process and reason over exabytes of structured and unstructured data to quickly deliver insights to power more intelligent apps.

Runtimes and tools with increased flexibility
Development teams build for multiple platforms, using a wide variety of languages and tools – and we understand their needs. With Azure, we support one of the broadest sets of operating systems, languages and services of any public cloud, from Windows, SQL and .NET to Python, Ruby, Node.js, Java, Hadoop, Linux and more. Today we are taking that support one step further with preview releases of .NET Core runtimes for Linux, Windows and Mac OSX and a demonstration of Docker support for both Linux and Windows Server. We also introduced Visual Studio Code, a free, lightweight, code-focused editor that runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX. Visual Studio Code integrates key Visual Studio features like Intellisense and in-line debugging for a fast, streamlined experience on any platform.

Productivity solutions for developers and ISVs
In order to deliver maximum business value, it’s critical that apps support devices of all types and easily integrate with on-premise and SaaS assets. The Azure SQL Database enhancements we previewed today take productivity to a new level with our new elastic database pool technology. Developers and ISVs can now manage the performance, scale and cost across a larger number of databases as a single pool of capacity. This first-of-its-kind offering in the big data space lets developers easily manage hundreds to thousands of separate databases per client as a single scalable service, taking advantage of cloud scale, automation and economics.

To help developers build apps that reinvent productivity we also announced the Office Graph API. This API exposes connections and data from the Office Graph, an intelligent fabric that applies machine learning to map the connections between people, content and interactions across Office. Developers can use the API to surface information in Office 365 services like Delve – for instance showing Salesforce information when someone is searching for data, or connect to it from the Azure App Service using the Logic App. Developers have the ability to create a Logic App that is triggered, for example, by a document with matching keywords. In this case, a user can be alerted when a particular opportunity from Salesforce starts trending around their sales team members.

To hear more about these new technologies – from the people who helped build them – and how they can help you build your next intelligent app, follow these links: Azure Data Lake, Azure SQL Data elastic database pools, Azure SQL Data Warehouse and Visual Studio Code. Visit the Office Graph API website to learn more.

The cross-platform tools, runtimes and data services we announced today reinforce our commitment to be the platform for every developer, and to make Microsoft Azure the best backend for the world’s apps. Download our new tools now and start building the Azure-based apps and services that will take your business to the next level.