Microsoft\u2019s Ignite event traditionally attracts more from the developer ranks, but the technologies on display are increasingly of relevance to CIOs developing cloud strategies today.\nAt Ignite 2019 in Orlando last week, Microsoft unveiled a new approach to analytics and data warehousing, Azure Synapse Analytics, and a new way to run Azure data services in anyone\u2019s cloud, Azure Arc. It also talked up a new quantum-computing-as-a-service offering, and showcased some AI technologies that will soon make their way into the company\u2019s cloud services.\n\n[ Stay on budget with these 6 cloud cost management tips, learn the 5 fundamentals of effective cloud management and beware hidden cloud migration gotchas. | Get the latest cloud computing insights by signing up for our newsletter. ]\n\nScaling up\nWith Azure Synapse Analytics Microsoft takes its Azure SQL Data Warehouse and turns up the volume to handle petabytes of data in its cloud. Some of the features \u2014 such as dynamic data masking and column- and row-level security to provide granular access control \u2014 are already generally available, while others \u2014 notably integrations with Apache Spark, Power BI and Azure Machine Learning \u2014 are still in preview. Other capabilities include streaming data ingestion and streaming analytics directly in the data warehouse, and a unified workspace for data prep and management. One of the first companies to use it is Unilever.\nWhereas Azure Synapse is about helping enterprises get all their data in one place, Azure Arc is about helping them spread it around, using a common interface to manage tasks running in the Azure cloud and workloads hosted on premises or in other cloud environments. Microsoft says Azure Arc extends existing management capabilities such as Azure Resource Manager, Azure Cloud Shell or Azure Policy to Linux and Windows servers and Kubernetes clusters running on any infrastructure, whether on premises or in other vendors\u2019 clouds.\nInitially, it\u2019s showing how to run Azure SQL Database and Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale on any Kubernetes cluster or on Azure Kubernetes Service, the idea being that it\u2019s easy for CIOs to spin up additional computing capacity in the cloud when on-premises resources run out.\nFor now, the service is in preview: businesses can try it out for free, with no guarantees.\nQuantum solace\nAzure Quantum was perhaps the most out-there announcement of the week: Microsoft has joined IBM in offering to run quantum computing apps in the cloud, albeit on an experimental rather than commercial basis.\nIn theory, quantum computing offers an algorithmic shortcut to solving many of the most time-consuming optimization problems \u2014 breaking many encryption systems wide open into the bargain. In practice, today\u2019s quantum computers lack power and tend to break down before they\u2019ve completed the job.\nMicrosoft said that its scientists had developed a way to control up to 50,000 qubits \u2014 the basic unit of calculation in a quantum computer \u2014 using just three wires and a half-inch-square chip cooled to near absolute zero. That will be useful if anyone ever manages to build a 50,000-qubit computer, but for now it\u2019s just hype: IBM and Google, the leaders in the domain, each demonstrated quantum computers with just 53 qubits last month.\nStill, there\u2019s some solace for far-sighted CIOs who can\u2019t afford their own quantum hardware: Hosted services such as Microsoft\u2019s Azure Quantum and IBM\u2019s Q Experience provide affordable insight into what may become the software development environments of the future. And until true quantum computers become more widely available, they and on-premises hardware simulators such as the Quantum Learning Machine from French server maker Atos offer a chance to test the applicability of quantum computing to some of today\u2019s toughest business optimization problems.\nProject Cortex\nAlso not yet available, but more down to earth, is Project Cortex. This is the name Microsoft has given to a new AI service coming to Teams, Outlook and Office that will offer users on-demand information that may be relevant to their needs. For a user confronted by an unfamiliar acronym, that might include a definition, related documents or even contact details for company experts on the topic.\nMicrosoft already offers such AI-powered features in some of its applications, including the \u201cInsights\u201d feature in Outlook that suggests people to contact or tasks to follow up on, and Project Cortex is about expanding this offering. While it will all happen behind the scenes for the end user, CIOs will need to ensure that access controls are well managed and data appropriately tagged so that Project Cortex can learn who needs \u2014 and is allowed \u2014 to see what.