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Microsoft Offers Deep Learning Support with PyTorch Enterprise on Microsoft Azure

Microsoft claims its new PyTorch Enterprise on Microsoft Azure is the first offering from a cloud platform to provide enterprise support for PyTorch, the popular open source deep learning framework.

Along with that enterprise support, it comes with prioritized troubleshooting and also integrates with other Azure solutions, such as Azure Machine Learning.

PyTorch is an open source machine learning/deep learning framework based on the Torch library, used for applications such as computer vision and natural language processing, driven by Facebook's AI Research lab, according to Wikipedia.

Regular Visual Studio Magazine readers will know that it's also a favorite tool of our own data science guru, Dr. James McCaffrey of Microsoft Research, who authors regular hands-on PyTorch-based tutorials for our Data Science Lab.

The new offering comes after Microsoft teamed up with Facebook to become a founding member of the PyTorch Enterprise Support Program, which helps service providers develop and offer tailored enterprise-grade support to their customers.

The enterprise support initiative was reportedly sparked by feedback from customers, who found it easy to get started with PyTorch but not so easy to implement complicated real-world enterprise production initiatives. Thus Microsoft will provide commercial support for the public PyTorch codebase. "Each release will be supported for as long as it is current," Microsoft said in a recent blog post. "In addition, one PyTorch release will be selected for LTS every year. Such releases will be supported for two years, enabling a stable production experience without frequent major upgrade investment."

Supported configurations include:

  • PyTorch: version 1.8.1 and up.
  • Libraries: torch, torchaudio, torchvision, torchtext, onnxruntime, and torch-tb-profiler.
  • Python: version 3.6 and up.
  • NVIDIA CUDA: versions 10.2 and 11.1.
  • Operating systems: Windows 10, Debian 9, Debian 10, Ubuntu 16.04.7 LTS, and Ubuntu 18.04.5 LTS (x86_64 architecture only).

It does not, however, support C++ or Java interfaces, or PyTorch libraries and features marked "experimental and subject to change" including TorchServe and Pipeline Parallelism.

To be eligible at no additional cost, enterprise customers must join Microsoft's Premier or Unified support programs. For such organizations, as part of the aforementioned prioritized troubleshooting, "The dedicated PyTorch team in Azure will prioritize, develop, and deliver hotfixes to customers as needed. These hotfixes will get tested and will be included in future PyTorch releases. In addition, Microsoft will extensively test PyTorch releases for performance regressions with continuous integration and realistic, demanding workloads from internal Microsoft applications."

Microsoft is heavily invested in the PyTorch ecosystem, noting that the company's data scientists like Dr. McCaffrey use PyTorch as the primary framework to develop models to enhance Office 365, Bing, Xbox and other offerings. That investment includes projects such as PyTorch Profiler, ONNX Runtime on PyTorch, PyTorch on Windows, DeepSpeed and more.

For now, PyTorch Enterprise is available on Azure Machine Learning and Data Science Virtual Machines (DSVM), coming soon to Azure Synapse Analytics.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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