AI goes mainstream in the insurance industry

An interesting post from Milliman notes how machine learning techniques are gaining favour in actuarial workloads. See  


Milliman – Another Aspect

Milliman's story has several facets, as they have been using Azure extensively.  Please check Ashish's post for more interesting details


Milliman – an Azure Case Study

Milliman – Cloud Innovators in the Life Insurance Industry Milliman is a great example of a company leveraging Azure extensively and in very innovative ways. In this post I have asked Paul Maher, CTO – Integrate & MG-ALFA, to share some insights on the work his team are doing with Integrate™ (their flagship Cloud solution…


CentOS cluster in Azure – Part 1

I have been working on Azure Resource Manager templates for a while. They are an interesting way to describe and deploy complex configurations in Azure. In particular, I have developed a template to deploy a CentOS 6.5 cluster. It will soon be published in the main Azure repository on github, but if you are interested…


DFS in Azure

Often we want to use Azure's scalable storage to deploy file servers. For geographically distributed infrastructures, it makes sense to establish a distributed file system (DFS) that spans across regions, both for availability and reach.  Here is a summary of the steps required to do so: Create a vnet in each desired datacenter, ideally with…


How Many Cores for the Job?

That is quite a common question. Experienced systems engineers have accumulated knowledge over the years that they distill into a few rules of thumb, e.g.: Given a certain hardware configuration, for software package A with an input size of X, on average you'll need Y cores. On Azure, the hardware configuration is known and you…


Generic Resource Scheduler for Azure

GeReS (Generic Resource Scheduler) for Windows Azure is now available as a beta release on Codeplex. It is a simple batch job manager written in C# (or Python for the older version). Geres provides: Command line utilities (e.g. qsub, qlist, jobcancel, joblist) to queue tasks for computation, check on their status, cancel them. 3 task…


Python and Azure VMs

I have been experimenting lately with the Azure SDK for Python, in particular with the service management API. I found some points in the documentation that were unclear to me, so I am posting what I discovered in the process. If you want to create a virtual machine, you need to: Create a cloud service…


Using CloudBlitz to Submit Jobs

In the second post about Cloudblitz ( we’ll examine how to use it to submit jobs to a deployed Azure cluster. Keep in mind that in Microsoft’s HPC scheduler implementation, jobs are just containers. They contain one or more tasks to be executed and have properties associated to them (e.g. credentials, priority). Such a container can…


Cloudblitz: A Tool to Deploy HPC Clusters in Azure

I’m happy to announce the availability of Cloudblitz, a tool (framework) to deploy HPC clusters in Azure programmatically via Powershell, then submit jobs to them via Powershell as well. You can find it at The tool builds on the HPC scheduler for Azure and the Powershell commandlets for Azure to solve a common problem, i.e. provide…