What's new in Azure AI Search

Azure Cognitive Search is now Azure AI Search. Learn about the latest updates to Azure AI Search functionality, docs, and samples.

April 2024

Item                         Type Description
Storage expansion on Basic and Standard tiers Feature Basic now supports up to three partitions and three replicas. Basic and Standard (S1, S2, S3) tiers have significantly more storage per partition, at the same per-partition billing rate. Extra capacity is subject to regional availability and applies to new search services created after April 3, 2024. Currently, there's no in-place upgrade, so please create a new search service to get the extra storage.
Increased quota for vectors Feature Vector quotas are also higher on new services created after April 3, 2024 in selected regions.
Built-in vector quantization, narrow vector data types, and a new stored property (preview) Feature This preview adds support for larger vector workloads at a lower cost through three enhancements. First, scalar quantization reduces vector index size in memory and on disk. Second, narrow data types can be assigned to vector fields that can use them. Third, we added more flexible vector field storage options.
2024-03-01-preview Search REST API API New preview version of the Search REST APIs for the new data types, vector compression properties, and storage options.
2024-03-01-preview Management REST API API New preview version of the Management REST APIs for control plane operations.
2023-07-01-preview deprecation announcement API Deprecation announced on April 8, 2024. Retirement on July 8, 2024. This was the first REST API that offered vector search support. Newer API versions have a different vector configuration. We recommend migrating to a newer version as soon as possible.

February 2024

Item                         Type Description
New dimension limits Feature For vector fields, maximum dimension limits are now 3072, up from 2048.

November 2023

Item                         Type Description
Vector search, generally available Feature Vector search is now supported for production workloads. The previous restriction on customer-managed keys (CMK) is now lifted. Prefiltering and exhaustive K-nearest neighbor algorithm are also now generally available.
Semantic ranking, generally available Feature Semantic ranking (formerly known as "semantic search") is now supported for production workloads.
Integrated vectorization (preview) Feature Adds data chunking and text-to-vector conversions during indexing, and also adds text-to-vector conversions at query time.
Import and vectorize data wizard (preview) Feature A new wizard in the Azure portal that automates data chunking and vectorization. It targets the 2023-10-01-Preview REST API.
Index projections (preview) Feature A component of a skillset definition that defines the shape of a secondary index. Index projections are used for a one-to-many index pattern, where content from an enrichment pipeline can target multiple indexes. You can define index projections using the 2023-10-01-Preview REST API, the Azure portal, and any Azure SDK beta packages that are updated to use this feature.
2023-11-01 Search REST API API New stable version of the Search REST APIs for vector fields, vector queries, and semantic ranking. See Upgrade REST APIs for migration steps to generally available features.
2023-11-01 Management REST API API New stable version of the Management REST APIs for control plane operations. This version adds APIs that enable or disable semantic ranking.
Azure OpenAI Embedding skill (preview) Skill Connects to a deployed embedding model on your Azure OpenAI resource to generate embeddings during skillset execution. This skill is available through the 2023-10-01-Preview REST API, the Azure portal, and any Azure SDK beta packages that are updated to use this feature.
Text Split skill (preview) Skill Updated in 2023-10-01-Preview to support native data chunking.
How vector search and semantic ranking improve your GPT prompts Video Watch this short video to learn how hybrid retrieval gives you optimal grounding data for generating useful AI responses and enables search over both concepts and keywords.
Access Control in Generative AI applications Blog Explains how to use Microsoft Entra ID and Microsoft Graph API to roll out granular user permissions on chunked content in your index.


Looking for preview features? Previews are announced here, but we also maintain a preview features list so you can find them in one place.

October 2023

Item                         Type Description
"Chat with your data" solution accelerator Sample End-to-end RAG pattern that uses Azure AI Search as a retriever. It provides indexing, data chunking, orchestration and chat based on Azure OpenAI GPT.
Exhaustive K-Nearest Neighbors (KNN) Feature Exhaustive K-Nearest Neighbor (KNN) is a new scoring algorithm for similarity search in vector space. It performs an exhaustive search for the nearest neighbors, useful for situations where high recall is more important than query performance. Available in the 2023-10-01-Preview REST API only.
Prefilters in vector search Feature Evaluates filter criteria before query execution, reducing the amount of content that needs to be searched. Available in the 2023-10-01-Preview REST API only, through a new vectorFilterMode property on the query that can be set to preFilter (default) or postFilter, depending on your requirements.
2023-10-01-Preview Search REST API API New preview version of the Search REST APIs that changes the definition for vector fields and vector queries. This API version introduces breaking changes from 2023-07-01-Preview, otherwise it's inclusive of all previous preview features. We recommend creating new indexes for 2023-10-01-Preview. You might encounter an HTTP 400 on some features on a migrated index, even if you migrated correctly.

August 2023

Item                         Type Description
Enhanced semantic ranking Feature Upgraded models are rolling out for semantic reranking, and availability is extended to more regions. Maximum unique token counts doubled from 128 to 256.

July 2023

Item                         Type Description
Vector demo (Azure SDK for JavaScript) Sample Uses Node.js and the @azure/search-documents 12.0.0-beta.2 library to generate embeddings, create and load an index, and run several vector queries.
Vector demo (Azure SDK for .NET) Sample Uses the Azure.Search.Documents 11.5.0-beta.3 library to generate embeddings, create and load an index, and run several vector queries. You can also try this sample from the Azure SDK team.
Vector demo (Azure SDK for Python) Sample Uses the latest beta release of the azure.search.documents to generate embeddings, create and load an index, and run several vector queries. Visit the azure-search-vector-samples/demo-python repo for more vector search demos.

June 2023

Item                         Type Description
Vector search public preview Feature Adds vector fields to a search index for similarity search over vector representations of data.
2023-07-01-Preview Search REST API API New preview version of the Search REST APIs that adds support for vector search. This API version is inclusive of all preview features. If you're using earlier previews, switch to 2023-07-01-preview with no loss of functionality.
Semantic search availability Feature Semantic search is now available on the Basic tier.

May 2023

Item                         Type Description
Azure RBAC (role-based access control) Feature Announcing general availability.
2022-09-01 Management REST API API New stable version of the Management REST APIs, with support for configuring search to use Azure roles The Az.Search module of Azure PowerShell and Az search module of the Azure CLI are updated to support search service authentication options. You can also use the Terraform provider to configure authentication options (see this Terraform quickstart for details).

April 2023

Item                         Type Description
Multi-region deployment of Azure AI Search for business continuity and disaster recovery Sample Deployment scripts that fully configure a multi-regional solution for Azure AI Search, with options for synchronizing content and request redirection if an endpoint fails.

March 2023

Item                         Type Description
ChatGPT + Enterprise data with Azure OpenAI and Azure AI Search (GitHub) Sample Python code and a template for combining Azure AI Search with the large language models in OpenAI. For background, see this Tech Community blog post: Revolutionize your Enterprise Data with ChatGPT.

Key points:

Use Azure AI Search to consolidate and index searchable content.

Query the index for initial search results.

Assemble prompts from those results and send to the gpt-35-turbo (preview) model in Azure OpenAI.

Return a cross-document answer and provide citations and transparency in your customer-facing app so that users can assess the response.

2022 announcements

Month Item
November Add search to websites series, updated versions of React and Azure SDK client libraries: "Add search to websites" is a tutorial series with sample code available in three languages. If you're integrating client code with a search index, these samples demonstrate an end-to-end approach to integration.
November Retired - Visual Studio Code extension for Azure AI Search.
November Query performance dashboard. This Application Insights sample demonstrates an approach for deep monitoring of query usage and performance of an Azure AI Search index. It includes a JSON template that creates a workbook and dashboard in Application Insights and a Jupyter Notebook that populates the dashboard with simulated data.
October Compliance risk analysis using Azure AI Search. On Azure Architecture Center, this guide covers the implementation of a compliance risk analysis solution that uses Azure AI Search.
October Beiersdorf customer story using Azure AI Search. This customer story showcases semantic search and document summarization to provide researchers with ready access to institutional knowledge.
September Event-driven indexing for Azure AI Search. This C# sample is an Azure Function app that demonstrates event-driven indexing in Azure AI Search. If you've used indexers and skillsets before, you know that indexers can run on demand or on a schedule, but not in response to events. This demo shows you how to set up an indexing pipeline that responds to data update events.
August Tutorial: Index large data from Apache Spark. This tutorial explains how to use the SynapseML open-source library to push data from Apache Spark into a search index. It also shows you how to make calls to Azure AI services to get AI enrichment without skillsets and indexers.
June Semantic search (preview). New support for Storage Optimized tiers (L1, L2).
June General availability - Debug Sessions.
May Retired - Power Query connector preview.
February Index aliases. An index alias is a secondary name that can be used to refer to an index for querying, indexing, and other operations. When index names change, for example if you version the index, instead of updating the references to an index name in your application, you can just update the mapping for your alias.

Previous year's announcements

Service rebrand

This service has had multiple names over the years. Here they are in reverse chronological order:

  • Azure AI Search (November 2023) Renamed to align with Azure AI services and customer expectations.
  • Azure Cognitive Search (October 2019) Renamed to reflect the expanded (yet optional) use of cognitive skills and AI processing in service operations.
  • Azure Search (March 2015) The original name.

Service updates

Service update announcements for Azure AI Search can be found on the Azure web site.

Feature rename

Semantic search was renamed to semantic ranking in November 2023 to better describe the feature, which provides L2 ranking of an existing result set.