FAQ for Azure Cognitive Services disconnected containers

General questions

Which services are available as disconnected containers?

Azure Cognitive Services containers allow developers to use the same intelligent APIs that are available in Azure, but with the benefits of containerization. Disconnected containers are offered through commitment tier pricing, each offering a discounted rate compared to the pay-as-you-go pricing model. With commitment tier pricing, you can commit to using the following Cognitive Services features for a fixed fee, enabling you to have a predictable total cost based on the needs of your workload.

  • Speech services
    • Speech to Text (Standard)
    • Neural Text to Speech
  • Text Translation (Standard)
  • Language Understanding (LUIS)
  • Azure Cognitive Service for Language
    • Sentiment Analysis
    • Key Phrase Extraction
    • Language Detection
  • Computer Vision - Read

Commitment tier pricing is also available for the following Applied AI service:

  • Form Recognizer

For more information about commitment tier pricing, reach out to your Microsoft account team or contact at Microsoft. You can also email csgate@microsoft.com.

Will containers be available for other Cognitive Services offerings, and what's the next set of containers I should expect?

We'd like to make more Cognitive Services offerings available as containers. Contact your local Microsoft account manager to get updates on new container releases and other Cognitive Services announcements.

How do I get access to disconnected container?

Fill out and submit the request form to request access to the container. Access is limited to customers that meet the following requirements:

  • Your organization must have an enterprise agreement or an equivalent agreement and should be identified as strategic customer or partner with Microsoft.
  • Valid business scenario/use case - Disconnected containers are expected to run fully offline hence, your use cases must meet one of below or similar requirements:
    • Environment or device(s) with zero connectivity to internet.
    • Remote location that occasionally has internet access.
    • Organization under strict regulation of not sending any kind of data back to cloud.
  • Application completed as instructed - Please pay close attention to guidance provided throughout the application to ensure you provide all the necessary information required for approval.

What if my use case can't satisfy the requirements listed above?

If your use case can't satisfy above requirements but you're interested in running containers on premises, you may be able to use connected containers.

What are some reasons my application may be denied?

Possible causes for a denied application are as follows:

  • Not being an existing Microsoft partner or enterprise agreement customer
  • Invalid Azure subscription ID. your ID must belong to the applicant organization, and you can't apply on behalf of other organizations.
  • The application was submitted with a personal email address (For example: @hotmail.com, @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, etc.)
  • Invalid justification or business scenario provided
  • Other missing or inaccurate data

How long does it take to approve my application to access disconnected containers?

After you submit the form, the Azure Cognitive Services team will review it and email you a decision within 10 business days.

Once your application is approved, the Cognitive Services gating team will communicate details for purchasing the commitment tier pricing, and instructions to download and run the containers.

If you have any questions on the application, gating process or other information needed, email csgate@microsoft.com

How do I download the disconnected containers?

These containers are hosted on the Microsoft Container Registry and available for download on Docker Hub. You won't be able to run the container if your Azure subscription has not been approved after completion of the request form. Once you're approved, you can follow the steps in Use Docker containers in disconnected environments

What is the service-level agreement (SLA) for Cognitive Services containers?

Cognitive Services disconnected containers don't have an SLA, because customers control configuration of the resources used. Customers are free to deploy containers on-premises and define the host environments.

Are these containers available in sovereign clouds?

Not everyone is familiar with the term sovereign cloud, so let's begin with definition: The sovereign cloud consists of the Azure Government, Azure Germany, and Azure China 21Vianet clouds. Currently, customers are able to create disconnected containers resource from public cloud.

Versioning

How are containers updated to the latest version?

Customers can choose when to update the containers that they've deployed. Containers will be marked with standard Docker tags such as latest to indicate the most recent version. We encourage customers to pull the latest versions of containers as they're released. For details on how to get notified when an image is updated, see Azure Container Registry webhooks.

What versions will be supported?

The current and last major version of the container will be supported. However, we encourage customers to stay current to get the latest technology to be compliant.

How are updates versioned?

Major version changes indicate that there's a breaking change to the API signature. We anticipate that this will generally coincide with major version changes to the corresponding Cognitive Services cloud offering. Minor version changes indicate bug fixes, model updates, or new features that don't make a breaking change to the API signature.

Technical questions

How can I diagnose potential errors in my deployment environment?

If you're having trouble running a Cognitive Services container, you can try using the Microsoft diagnostics container. Use this container to diagnose common errors in your deployment environment that might prevent Cognitive Services containers from functioning as expected.

To get the container, use the following docker pull command:

docker pull mcr.microsoft.com/azure-cognitive-services/diagnostic

Then run the container. Replace {ENDPOINT_URI} with your endpoint, and replace {API_KEY} with your key to your resource:

docker run --rm mcr.microsoft.com/azure-cognitive-services/diagnostic \
Eula=accept \
Billing={ENDPOINT_URI} \
ApiKey={API_KEY}

The container will test for network connectivity to the billing endpoint.

Are these containers compatible with OpenShift?

We don't test containers with OpenShift, but generally, Cognitive Services containers should run on any platform that supports Docker images. If you're using OpenShift, we recommend running the containers as root-user.

How do I provide product feedback and feature recommendations?

We encourage customers to voice their concerns publicly and to up-vote others who have done the same where potential issues overlap. You can use the feedback tool for both product feedback and feature recommendations.

What status messages and errors do Cognitive Services containers return?

Here are the status messages and errors:

Status Description
Valid Your API key is valid. No action is needed.
Invalid Your API key is invalid. You must provide a valid API key to configure the container for use in disconnected environments. Find your API key and service region in the Azure portal, in the Keys and Endpoint section for your Cognitive Services resource.
Mismatch You've provided an API key or endpoint for a different kind of Cognitive Services resource. Find your API key and service region in the Azure portal, in the Keys and Endpoint section for your Cognitive Services resource.
CouldNotConnect The container couldn't connect to the endpoint.
OutOfQuota The API key has exceeded the quota. You can either upgrade your pricing tier or wait for additional quota to become available. Find your tier in the Azure portal, in the Pricing Tier section of your Cognitive Service resource.
ContainerUseUnauthorized The provided API key isn't authorized for use with this container. You're likely using a gated container, so make sure your Azure subscription ID is approved by submitting an online request.
Unknown The server is currently unable to process requests.

How do I get support?

Customer support channels are the same as for the Cognitive Services cloud-based APIs. All Cognitive Services containers include logging features that will help us and the community support customers. Here are options for more support:

How does billing work?

Customers are charged based on the commitment tier they purchase. Choose an annual commitment plan based on the needs of your workload. You can customize the "Commitment tier disconnected containers DC0" pricing tier by selecting one of several commitment tier options.

Each commitment tier offers a discounted rate as compared to the pay-as-you-go pricing model. Commitment plans are charged annually starting from the day the resource was created. Additional units can be added at any time in the year and are charged pro-rated based on the number of days remaining in the billing year. For more information, see the following pricing pages:

Tip

To find the pricing information for disconnected containers on these pricing pages, scroll down to Commitment Tiers section.

How do I monitor the container's usage?

Docker containers running in a disconnected environment will write usage records to a volume where they're collected over time. These containers also provide a REST endpoint to generate a report about usage. See Use containers in disconnected environments for more information.

What is the current support warranty for containers?

There's no warranty for containers in preview. Microsoft's standard warranty for enterprise software will apply when containers are formally announced as General Availability (GA).

What hardware is required to run these containers?

Cognitive Services containers are x64-based containers that can run any compatible Linux node, VM, and edge device that supports x64 Linux Docker containers. They all require CPU processors. You can find the minimum and recommended configurations for each container offering on these pages:

Are these containers currently supported on Windows?

Cognitive Services containers are Linux containers, but there's some support for Linux containers on Windows. For more information about Linux containers on Windows, see the Docker documentation.

What compliance certifications do containers have?

Cognitive Services containers don't have any compliance certifications.