Microsoft in collaboration with Dell EMC, the subsidiary of Dell Technologies has extended the Microsoft Azure’s cloud services to the tactical edge with two new product launches. In 2017, Dell EMC introduced its technology stack bringing Azure cloud’s capabilities to data centers hosted on premises. With the new extension of services, it will now be available on the network edge and remote locations.
The ‘tactical edge’ refers to remote locations where network connectivity is scarce with challenging portability and mobility issues. The companies announced two products to solve connectivity issues regarding cloud computing which include Azure Data Box and Dell EMC Tactical Microsoft Azure Stack. The products are specifically designed to aid the US military along with helping disaster relief and humanitarian operations. The products have been made available to US government agencies including Department of Defense.
The Tactical Azure Stack is based on Microsoft’s Azure Stack which brings Microsoft’s cloud capabilities to the enterprises’ on-premises data centers. The product, which will be sold by Dell EMC, is a rugged computing software combo which allows government agencies and military customers to use cloud services in remote and inaccessible locations. The companies claimed that their product offerings offer full mobility and portability along with meeting all requirements and specifications of US military.
The Azure Data Box is a combo pack of a number of Azure products which include Data Box Heavy, Data Box Disk, Data Box Gateway and Data Box Edge. The combined product offering is specifically designed to transfer and process data in network edge-scenarios along with extending some machine learning tools.
Ruggedized versions are required for operating under extreme conditions found in a broad range of edge environments such as an oil rig in mid-ocean and military battlefields where transport, weight and size considerations are important. The launch of the two products further highlights the growing demand for edge computing where computing is shifted to the network’s edge rather than a central cloud.
It is significant move by the company as Microsoft is a top contender for US Department of Defense’s $10 billion contract for cloud computing. Tech giants are bidding for the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure or JEDI contract which is looking for a private corporation to host the information technology infrastructure of Pentagon for 10 years. The ruggedized computing capabilities is a major criteria for deciding who gets the contract. Other competitors include Amazon Web Services which announced its Snowball Edge for the Department of Defense for collecting and analyzing data in remote locations.