Partying on the Azure stack. Cortana, ML, Power BI and Azure Functions…

At Fred we pride ourselves on innovation and one of the key tenants of this is our annual Geekend. This is a 36 hour intensive hack fest in which we smash out a retail workflow using as much cool tech as possible in the interest of leveraging it in the coming year. This year I was playing with machine learning and attempting to use it to provide a demand forecasting solution for Dynamics AX.

The idea was to utilize an Azure ML model to predict and generate a list of items to order based on past sales. This was provided thanks to my co-worker and all round machine learning wizard, Praveen.

With the prediction engine in place we attempted to use as many other features provided by the Azure platform and came up with a pretty sweet story to tell. The components involved were:

  • Azure Scheduler
  • Azure Functions
  • Azure Machine Learning
  • Azure SQL
  • Power BI
  • Cortana Intelligence Suite

Although the final product set to be ordered would ultimately be consumed by AX master planning, for the sake of the demo we were just surfacing these results in a Power BI visualization.

Buckle up…

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From TeamCity to VSTS – My DevOps Journey

My team recently migrated to Visual Studio Team Services and as a result we have a goal to consolidate our deployment processes using the powerful Release Management framework. While this is the goal, for the moment I was interested in somehow getting our current build process in Team City to work along side our shiny new ALM provider.

Visual Studio Team Services and TeamCity. You would think they would go together like chocolate and lobster but with some work I was able to achieve a little unity…

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