Where Google offers a Colab environment for AI experiments, including the use of a free GPU and support for Python Notebooks, Microsoft has a comparable service with Azure ML Studio.
With a free account it was possible to run your Python Notebooks free of charge, but unfortunately Microsoft will shut this service down on the 13th of April, according to a service message on their platform.
After logging in to studio.azureml.net it displays the following message as showed in the image above:
“The notebooks(preview) feature will be shut down at 4/13/2020. After shut down the notebooks tab will disappear and the notebooks data can not be restored. Please download your notebooks data before 4/13/2020. Click here to check how to download your data. If you have further question, contact us“.
This means you have to take action, if you want a back-up of your Python notebooks and the content in it. A download to a local computer is a first step to secure your work. You can upload it to another environment at a later time.
Alternatives for Azure ML Studio are paid Cloud Services, but there are also some environments that you can use free of charge.
With a Google account you can store Notebook .ipynb files on Google Drive and then open the file in Google Colab and use the ML environment free of charge. You can even select a free GPU as a hardware accelerator for running deep learning experiments.
Paperspace also delivers cloud tools including complete environments to run Notebooks. You can create an account without entering a phone or credit card number. After creating an account, you can access a Notebook in the Gradient menu. This is free of charge for 6 hours at a time. There are also several paid options, so be sure to select one of the free options. A free Notebook has up to 8 GPU’s.
A third option is Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure. They offer a periode free of charge, if you take a paid subscription. In this case a credit card is needed to register, but you will only be charged after the amount of free time included in these services.