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Today I am pleased to announce the general availability of Azure Data Box Edge and the Azure Data Box Gateway. You can get these products today in the Azure portal.
Compute at the edge
We’ve heard your need to bring Azure compute power closer to you – a trend increasingly referred to as edge computing. Data Box Edge answers that call and is an on-premises anchor point for Azure. Data Box Edge can be racked alongside your existing enterprise hardware or live in non-traditional environments from factory floors to retail aisles. With Data Box Edge, there’s no hardware to buy; you sign up and pay-as-you-go just like any other Azure service and the hardware is included.
This 1U rack-mountable appliance from Microsoft brings you the following:
- Local Compute – Run containerized applications at your location. Use these to interact with your local systems or to pre-process your data before it transfers to Azure.
- Network Storage Gateway – Automatically transfer data between the local appliance and your Azure Storage account. Data Box Edge caches the hottest data locally and speaks file and object protocols to your on-premises applications.
- Azure Machine Learning utilizing an Intel Arria 10 FPGA – Use the on-board Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) to accelerate inferencing of your data, then transfer it to the cloud to re-train and improve your models. Learn more about the Azure Machine Learning announcement.
- Cloud managed – Easily order your device and manage these capabilities for your fleet from the cloud using the Azure Portal.
Since announcing Preview at Ignite 2018 just a few months ago, it has been amazing to see how our customers across different industries are using Data Box Edge to unlock some innovative scenarios:
Sunrise Technology, a wholly owned division of The Kroger Co., plans to use Data Box Edge to enhance the Retail as a Service (RaaS) platform for Kroger and the retail industry to enable the features announced at NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show, including personalized, never-before-seen shopping experiences like at-shelf product recommendations, guided shopping and more. The live video analytics on Data Box Edge can help store employees identify and address out-of-stocks quickly and enhance their productivity. Such smart experiences will help retailers provide their customers with more personalized, rewarding experiences.
Esri, a leader in location intelligence, is exploring how Data Box Edge can help those responding to disasters in disconnected environments. Data Box Edge will allow teams in the field to collect imagery captured from the air or ground and turn it into actionable information that provides updated maps. The teams in the field can use updated maps to coordinate response efforts even when completely disconnected from the command center. This is critical in improving the response effectiveness in situations like wildfires and hurricanes.
Data Box Gateway – Hardware not required
Data Box Edge comes with a built-in storage gateway. If you don’t need the Data Box Edge hardware or edge compute, then the Data Box Gateway is also available as a standalone virtual appliance that can be deployed anywhere within your infrastructure.
You can provision it in your hypervisor, using either Hyper-V or VMware, and manage it through the Azure Portal. Server message block (SMB) or network file system (NFS) shares will be set up on your local network. Data landing on these shares will automatically upload to your Azure Storage account, supporting Block Blob, Page Blob, or Azure Files. We’ll handle the network retries and optimize network bandwidth for you. Multiple network interfaces mean the appliance can either sit on your local network or in a DMZ, giving your systems access to Azure Storage without having to open network connections to Azure.
Whether you use the storage gateway inside of Data Box Edge or deploy the Data Box Gateway virtual appliance, the storage gateway capabilities are the same.
More solutions from the Data Box family
In addition to Data Box Edge and Data Box Gateway, we also offer three sizes of Data Box for offline data transfer:
- Data Box – a ruggedized 100 TB transport appliance
- Data Box Disk – a smaller, more nimble transport option with individual 8 TB disks and up to 40 TB per order
- Data Box Heavy Preview – a bigger version of Data Box that can scale to 1 PB.
All Data Box offline transport products are available to order through the Azure Portal. We ship them to you and then you fill them up and ship them back to our data center for upload and processing. To make Data Box useful for even more customers, we’re enabling partners to write directly to Data Box with little required change to their software via our new REST API feature which has just reached general availability – Blob Storage on Data Box!
Thank you for partnering with us on our journey to bring Azure to the edge. We are excited to see how you use these new products to harness the power of edge computing for your business. Here’s how you can get started: