Microsoft Build 2024: Essential Guide for AI Developers at Startups and Cloud-Native Companies

Microsoft Build 2024: Essential Guide for AI Developers at Startups and Cloud-Native Companies



Microsoft Build 2024 starts May 21stRegister now to attend virtually.


Microsoft Build, the annual conference where developers can dive deep into the latest Microsoft technologies, kicks off May 21st. Generative AI is rapidly evolving. Take for example, the recent launch of OpenAI’s GPT-4o. In addition to major improvements in performance on features such as multilingual understanding, faster response times, and lower cost, the model features a massive leap in multimodal capabilities by processing and generating content across text, audio, and images in real time, unlocking a new class of Generative AI (GenAI) use cases. And that’s just OpenAI. There is a plethora of cutting-edge solutions providing models, frameworks, vector databases, LLM observability platforms, and many more tools for developers building GenAI apps.


Microsoft has been an early innovator in the GenAI wave and has been recognized as a leader in the 2024 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud AI Developer Services. In addition to Azure AI services, Microsoft also provides the tools and the application platform comprising databases, cloud-native services, and infrastructure services, that enable developers to easily and quickly build, deploy, and run powerful GenAI applications securely and at-scale. With businesses of all sizes and verticals leveraging GenAI to create differentiated customer experiences and drive operational excellence, every developer will need to be skilled in building AI-powered apps. Microsoft Build will provide an opportunity to skill up and learn about the latest developments in GenAI.


The Build blueprint for startups and at-scale born-in-the-cloud companies


Startups and cloud-first companies are leading the GenAI innovation boom. They are building GenAI-powered apps across a range of industries such as healthcare, financial services, and retail. While it is still early days for GenAI, these companies are already making a big impact on how businesses interact with their customers. For example, Harvey is leveraging the power of Azure OpenAI and Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) to enable better efficiency and productivity for legal professionals.


Many startups are boosting GenAI momentum by providing solutions that make it easy to build GenAI applications. Two examples of such startups are Scale AI and Aisera. The Scale GenAI Platform (SGP) enables enterprises to bridge the trust gap to deploy safe and performant GenAI applications through better data. With features like Evaluation, Auto-Rag Builder, and Custom Application Builder, SGP combines trust with velocity to accelerate enterprises' paths to real ROI. Aisera leverages Azure OpenAI and AKS to provide a generative AI platform for enterprises to help them automate and enhance customer service interactions, employee service desk, content generation, workflow generation and many other industries/domains and many other tasks.


Top Microsoft Build 2024 Keynotes and Breakouts for Startups


At Microsoft Build, you will hear from many such startups, as well as enterprises, on their GenAI use cases and application development. Now let’s take a look at the keynotes, sessions, and other learning opportunities that will help you dive deep with GenAI.


Quick pro tip: You can go to the session catalog and put “born-in-the-cloud” in the search bar to see the content we have curated for you. Also note that the scheduling for some of the sessions might overlap, but you should be able to view many of these on-demand.


Microsoft Build 2024 Keynotes

  • Microsoft Build opening keynote (May 21, 9-11am PST): Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft, will be joined by Kevin Scott, CTO, and Rajesh Jha, EVP Experiences and Devices, to talk about how this era of AI will unlock new opportunities, transform how developers work and drive business productivity across industries.
  • Next generation AI for developers with the Microsoft Cloud (May 22, 8.30-10am PST): Join Scott Guthrie and leaders across Microsoft to learn how you can build secure and responsible AI solutions of the future with the foundation of the Microsoft Cloud. Watch this for exciting AI-related announcements!


Top 10 Microsoft Build Breakout Sessions

(ordered by scheduling):

  • Maximize joy, minimize toil with great developer experiences (May 21, 1-1.45pm PST). Reason to watch: Empowering developers is the first step to building great GenAI apps. Join Amanda Silver, CVP Developer Division, as she covers the latest evolution in developer tools and how we collaborate across the entire technology spectrum to build the next generation of intelligent apps.
  • Multimodel, multimodal, and multiagent innovation with Azure AI (May 21, 2.15-3pm PST). Reason to watch: Multimodal use cases are quickly becoming popular in GenAI applications and Marco Casaliana, VP Products Azure AI, gives the best demos to show what’s possible! Additionally, the session will discuss responsible AI, data privacy, and security and feature customer examples such as Unity Technologies.
  • Operationalize AI Responsibly with Azure AI Studio (May 21, 3.30-4.15pm PST). Reason to watch: Azure AI Studio is the go-to service on Azure for building generative AI apps. Sarah Bird, CPO at Microsoft for Responsible AI, will discuss in detail how you can take an agile, responsible-by-design approach to building GenAI apps on Azure.
  • Build and scale modern apps with Azure Kubernetes Service (May 22, 10.30-11.15am PST). Reason to watch: Kubernetes has become the go-to platform for running apps at scale, especially in the cloud and Azure Kubernetes Service now makes it even easier to deploy and run AI apps at scale. ClickHouse will share how they are using AKS and Azure to build ClickHouse Cloud, a hosted version of the world's fastest and most resource-efficient online analytical column-oriented database management system.
  • RAG at scale: Production-ready GenAI apps with Azure AI Search (May 22, 10.30-11.15am PST). Reason to watch: If 2023 was the year of GenAI prototypes, 2024 is the year these apps go into production. Developers are increasingly turning to Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) to improve the quality of search results for their GenAI apps. In this session Pablo Castro, Distinguished Engineer, will demo how Azure AI Search combines the best RAG capabilities for GenAI apps at any scale, without compromising cost or performance.
  • Building applications at hyperscale with the latest Azure innovations (May 22, 1-1.45pm PST). Reason to watch: This is a great foundational session on building cloud-native Linux-based scale out applications on Azure infrastructure and will dive into the different VM types and pricing models available to achieve your performance and cost requirements.
  • Design and build multi-tenant SaaS apps at scale with Azure CosmosDB (May 22, 3.30-4.15pm PST). Reason to watch: Azure CosmosDB is a database built for the era of AI. The world’s most popular GenAI app, ChatGPT, uses Azure CosmosDB. It features built-in security and compliance, essential for business-critical genAI apps, and is available in many variants including PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Apache Cassandra. Real-world examples from innovative ISVs like Kinectify will provide practical insights.
  • Serverless architectures: Effortless intelligent apps at extreme scale (May 22, 4.45-5.30pm PST). Reason to watch: Serverless application architectures are becoming increasingly popular and Azure Container Apps and Azure Functions make it easy to build and run serverless GenAI apps at scale.
  • Transforming the future of startups with Microsoft AI (May 23, 4.15-5pm PST). Reason to watch: Learn about how Microsoft for Startups is helping founders around the world build their AI solutions on the Microsoft Cloud. Hear from the founders at Nixtla on how access to AI infrastructure including GPUs paired with cutting edge AI tooling has transformed their businesses.
  • Disrupt and grow with Azure AI (On Demand). Reason to watch: If you are new to Azure, watch this on-demand session to learn about the full stack of Azure services that help you build, run, and scale your GenAI apps. Winston Weinberg, CEO, and Gabe Pereyra, President and Cofounder at Harvey will talk about their experience in building GenAI solutions for professional services.


Additional Microsoft Build Learning Opportunities:

These are just a few sessions I recommend, and I’ve picked them by solution breadth, speaker profiles, and common use cases. There are many more sessions packed with great information, and your watch list should be based on the models, use cases, and tools you use. I highly recommend checking out the session catalog to discover sessions that are most relevant to you.

In addition to breakout sessions, there are also demos and many more learning opportunities at Build. We've also put together a comprehensive learning collection on "Essentials for building new intelligent apps" to help you kick off your learning journey on Azure.


We recently hosted the Microsoft Generative AI Hackathon and got some great submissions with interesting use cases for GenAI. Many of the submissions were also projects related to social good and sustainability, which showcases how AI can be a force multiplier for good. Check out the hackathon submissions and winners here.


Let’s learn and build!

This is truly the era of AI and cloud-first companies are at the forefront of this wave. Join us at Microsoft Build 2024 and let’s build the future together!


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