Behind the scenes with a Microsoft Technical Fellow and Corporate VP who discusses the software, hardware, and infrastructure behind Azure cloud computing, the software-defined data center, and what makes the most efficient, sustainable data centers in the world.
Marcus Fontoura has spent time at many of the world’s leading technology companies including IBM Research, Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft. In this episode of Moore’s Lobby, Daniel goes on a deep dive with Marcus into Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Azure.
In this episode, they discuss the hardware, software, and infrastructure behind what Marcus considers to be the “world’s computer.” By effectively integrating both hardware and software, they are enabling other engineers and technologists to “do the science fiction work” that they dream of doing.
Microsoft Azure stack services. Image used courtesy of Microsoft
Fontoura’s passion for his work comes through in this lively discussion and in his goals to create technology to make our lives better. Reflecting on the immense challenges that occurred during Covid when internet traffic spiked, Fontoura considered it one of his “proudest moments:"
“This became a very challenging couple of months as we had to manage the capacity. But you know, for me it was super exciting because this was putting to the test everything that I'm talking to you about. We really have this deep knowledge of the workloads that we are running on Azure. We know how to manage, we know how to manage power efficiently…we coped brilliantly.”
Did you know that overclocking CPUs isn’t just for gamers, but is used in Azure data centers? Fontoura explains how selective overclocking actually improves efficiency. We’ll bet you can’t guess what intense computing applications demand this overclocking! But, it will make perfect sense after you hear his explanation.
The episode touches on many other fascinating topics including:
- Ambient intelligence that will make our lives better, without being “creepy”
- “Our most efficient data centers are...” –sorry, you will have to listen to hear Fontoura finish this statement!
- Democratizing high-performance computing
- Immersion cooling
- How the combination of edge and cloud is “a beautiful vision”
- Fontoura’s view on the skills that the next generation of technologists will need to succeed
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Meet Marcus Fontoura
Dr. Marcus Fontoura is a Technical Fellow and Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, where he works as chief architect for Azure compute and leads the Azure efficiency team. Prior to joining Microsoft, Marcus worked as a staff research scientist and researcher at Google, Yahoo, and IBM Almaden Research Center.
Marcus is an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Distinguished Member and an IEEE Senior Member. He has more than 25 issued patents and more than 50 published papers.