Microsoft Innovates Its Azure Multi-Cloud, Multi-Edge Hybrid Capabilities
During the recent Ignite virtual conference, Microsoft announced several updates for their Azure multi-cloud and edge hybrid offerings. These updates span from security innovations to new edge capabilities.
From its inception onward, Microsoft Azure has been hybrid by design, providing customers with services that allow ground to cloud and cloud to ground shifts of workloads. Moreover, Microsoft keeps expanding its cloud platform hybrid capabilities to allow customers to run their apps anywhere across on-premises, multi-cloud, and the edge. At Ignite, the public cloud vendor announced several innovations for Azure Arc, Stack, VMWare and Sphere.
At Ignite last year, Microsoft launched Azure Arc, a service allowing enterprises to bring Azure services and management to any infrastructure, including AWS and Google Cloud. This service was an addition to Microsoft’s Azure Hybrid portfolio, which also includes Azure Stack and Edge. Later in 2020, the service received an update with support for Kubernetes. Now Azure Arc has more capabilities with the new Azure Arc enabled data services in preview. Furthermore, the Azure Arc enabled servers are now generally available.
In addition to Azure Arc, Microsoft has a hybrid cloud offering with Azure Stack, which allows enterprises to run Azure in their own data centers to adhere to regulatory compliance requirements and have the ability to run disconnected. Azure Stack has been available for over three years now, and Microsoft kept innovating and growing the portfolio of the service. During Ignite, the company announced two new capabilities for Azure Stack:
Azure Kubernetes Services (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI in preview allowing customers to deploy and manage containerized apps at scale on Azure Stack HCI, just as they can run AKS within Azure.
And the general availability of Azure Stack Hub with GPUs allowing customers to share the GPU efficiently. They can run compute intense machine learning workloads in disconnected or partially connected scenarios leveraging the NVIDIA V100 Tensor Core GPU. Furthermore, there is an NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPU available for less compute intensely. These updates to Stack Hub are an addition to earlier updates for the service announced at Build.
Also, Microsoft released several new edge capabilities with:
The general availability of Azure SQL Edge – allowing customers to use the Microsoft SQL data engine in IoT gateways and edge devices.
The availability of two new rugged devices – allowing customers to perform machine learning and gain quick insights at the edge by running the Azure Stack Edge Pro R with NVIDIA’s powerful T4 GPU and the lightweight, portable Azure Stack Edge Mini R.
The availability of Azure Stack Edge with GPUs – allowing customers to run visualization, inferencing, and machine learning at the edge with the Azure Stack Edge Pro series powered by the NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPU.
And finally, AT&T and Microsoft teamed up to enable enterprise customers to connect their machines and equipment securely by Azure Sphere guardian devices to the cloud seamlessly via AT&T’s cellular network, without needing to rely on Wi-Fi systems.