Gray Systems Lab

Applied Research; Insightful Impact

Share this page



We take an ‘applied research’ approach. Our scientists collaborate with our engineering and product teams to solve hard technical problems.

Coupled with a direct line to data, resources, engineers, and the voice of the customer, GSL retains the freedom to investigate novel and strategic solutions. This gives us an intrinsic advantage over solely academic or solely product organizations.

Underpinning this is our mindset to take risks, disrupt, and pursue tricky problems, which enables a unique mix of empowerment, access, and innovation.

GSL has pioneered Microsoft’s commitment to open source; we consider OSS a great opportunity to create a culture of mind-share, and showcase the lab talent, engage with future lab members, and amplify individual contributions.

Insightful impact

Our labs provide the lens that gives Azure Data visibility to ‘see around the bend’. GSL’s unique collaboration with UW Madison and an inherent involvement in OSS projects and meetups, coupled with a focus on industry and scientific developments gives a mitigated approach to explore, validate, and disprove trends to pilot senior leadership.

The advantage of doing research at Microsoft is a direct access to a powerful repository of telemetry and data collected on our operational services. Affectionately referred to as a ‘candy-store for researchers’, we can collect data and estimate the potential impact of a technical solution during a pre-hypothesis stage.

We then drive the design and building of our systems based on real-world workloads, rigorous due diligence on viability, and the cost of ownership.

“In GSL,  I get to work closely with real products and live systems, exploring research problems with the full power of Azure (both massive amounts of data and computational resources).”

– Karla Saur, Senior Research SDE

Intellectual honesty is the driver in building an inclusive and diverse team. Voices are heard on the merits of their ideas versus their loudness. We believe in a multiplicity of views and evidence-based decision making is critical – especially when operating at the edge of the known world; where we think outside the box, because we live outside the box.

Lab fast facts

Azure Data - lab fast facts

“The recipe to fulfill GSL’s ambitious mission? Simple: take a few bright minds, let them have fun on hard technical problems, boil into a product-solid consistency, add a zest of OSS, and publications to taste. Serve hot to our customers.”

– Carlo Curino, GSL Principal Scientist Lead