Microsoft announces the general availability of Azure Time Series Insights

Posted on 15 November, 2017

Director, Big Data Products

Today, we announced the general availability (GA) of Azure Time Series Insights (TSI). TSI is a cost-effective and performant service for the analytics, visualization, and storage of time series data. For the last seven months hundreds of customers, including ThyssenKrupp, BMW, Steelcase, TransAlta, Actionpoint, and Mesh Systems, have pushed more than 50 billion events into TSI for use in their production environments. Customers have leveraged TSI to visualize machine learning models in real-time, compare disparate assets, reduce SLA’s for IoT asset validation and deployment, and conduct root cause analysis. Now, customers with large volumes of time series data have a scalable, commercial-grade solution for storing and analyzing data without the headache and expense of tedious resource management. 

When we first started working with customers on TSI, there wasn’t a clean way to analyze and visualize time series data at scale. Historically, time series data is stored in traditional databases hosted on premises where they are hard to set-up and manage.  While customers can hobble together commercial and open source products today, they are difficult to provision and get pricey and time-consuming quickly. Once customers get these solutions up and running, they struggle to keep up with the increasing size of their IoT data. In fact, we’ve heard multiple times that these types of solutions are “where good data goes to die,” since customers often wind up not generating any meaningful insights from them. 

It’s easy to get started using TSI because it requires no coding or data prep. TSI enables customers to analyze, visualize, and store terabytes of data in near-real time, all without having to worry about managing or connecting multiple applications. With this release, TSI now stores raw data for up to 400 days, four times more than what was previously available, enabling fast multi-site asset comparisons over a rolling year of data. TSI grows with you, elastically scaling up to a multi-terabyte environment in seconds and makes new data available to query for insights in less than 1 minute, so there is no planning or wait time required to meet your business needs. Unlike other products, TSI is pay-as-you-go and enables an unlimited amount of users and queries so organizations can get more value out of it. Organizations building custom applications that need to query, aggregate, store, and chunk time series data into intervals can achieve greater flexibility by leveraging TSI’s APIs. Applications like Microsoft IoT Central, Azure IoT Connected Factory Preconfigured Solution, and the Steelcase Workplace Advisor have all been built on top of TSI using these APIs. 

Easy to get started

Actionpoint is a global technology company providing a comprehensive portfolio of innovative products and services, including their new IoT-PREDICT solution for connected factories. 

“TSI makes it simple for Actionpoint IoT-PREDICT customers to start storing and visualizing the powerful data generated on their factory floors,” said Finian Nally, Head of Cloud Solutions. “TSI enables us to create scalable solutions on behalf of our customers in less than 10 minutes, as it requires no coding nor data prep to get started.”

Powerful APIs

Steelcase, the global leader in office furniture and connected office solutions, has taken a cloud-first approach to software development in their new Workplace Advisor solution.

“We are constantly working to help our customers reimagine how they can empower their workforce to work more efficiently in their workplaces,” said Scott King, software engineering lead at Steelcase.  “To do this well, we needed a place to capture and store large volumes of time series data, make calculations with that data on the fly in real-time, and aggregate that data, so it’s easier to view and explore in our application. Time Series Insights APIs have enabled us to provide real-time visibility across workspaces around the globe, giving our customers the ability to intuitively gain insights and make informed decisions on how to optimize the workplace. We chose to build on TSI because of the speed it allows us to dynamically query our data, its interval chunking, and aggregation capabilities.”

More efficient operations

ThyssenKrupp Elevator, the world’s leading elevator company, is using TSI to make their operations more efficient. 

“Azure Time Series Insights has standardized our method of accessing devices’ telemetry in real time without any development effort. Time to detect and diagnose a problem has dropped from days to minutes. With just a few clicks we can visualize the end-to-end device data flow, helping us identify and address customer and market needs,” said Scott Tillman, Software Engineer, ThyssenKrupp Elevator.

Improved organizational visibility

TransAlta, a global energy leader, is using TSI to store and analyze wind farm data.

“The simplicity and speed we have seen since starting to use Time Series Insights has been impressive.” said Jason Killeleagh, lead architect.  “We are excited to expand our use of Time Series Insights as we continue to identify ways Time Series insights helps TransAlta cut costs and improve data access for our Plant Operations and Engineering teams.”

Time Series data, simplified

Mesh Systems designs and deploys turnkey IoT / M2M solutions that include hardware, software and networking frameworks for Smart products. They are helping a global automation technology company build a new solution using Time Series Insights.

“Azure Time Series Insights has obviated the need to build a queryable, performant time series repository,” said Kyle Zeronik, VP of engineering.  “The removal of the engineering effort and subsequent code maintenance effort is an enormous efficiency gain when building IoT applications.  We see tremendous value in the Azure Time Series Insights PaaS offering.”

We are very excited to enable organizations with large volumes of time series data to count on the stability and service level agreement (SLA) that TSI now provides, but what comes next? Looking forward, we’ll be working on expanding storage retention, adding built-in anomaly detection, integrating with Power BI, and making TSI explorer generally available, which enables customers to explore their freshest time series data in seconds. Customers can continue to use the TSI explorer, which remains in public preview, and we will continue to include it as a component of all TSI SKUs. You can stay up to date on all things Time Series Insights by following us on Twitter. Get started on Time Series Insights here.

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