Oct 21, 2020

Microsoft unveils new Azure modular data centre

Cloud
edge computing
space
Data Centres
Harry Menear
2 min
Currently in tests with defence and private sector contractors, the new Microsoft Azure Modular Data Centre is small enough to fit on a flatbed truck
Currently in tests with defence and private sector contractors, the new Microsoft Azure Modular Data Centre is small enough to fit on a flatbed truck...

Microsoft Azure is launching a modular micro data centre which can work anywhere and fit on the back of a flatbed truck.

Following the successful testing of several micro data centre applications - not least of which was the company’s two year Project Natick trial - and the recent launch of its new Azure Space network, which uses Microsoft’s extensive on and off-planet network to deliver satellite-based cloud connectivity almost anywhere in the world, the cloud computing giant is launching a new series of modular data centres. 

The Azure Modular Data Centre is contained in a ruggedised, radio frequency shielded unit, and is designed to work in a range of harsh environments. According to Microsoft, the unit can function in remote areas where high humidity, extreme temperatures and uneven terrain would pose huge connectivity issues for conventional infrastructure. 

“Around the world, there are significant cloud computing and storage needs in areas with adverse conditions, where low communication, disrupted network availability and limited access to specialized infrastructure would have previously prevented taking advantage of cloud computing,” writes Bill Karagounis, manager of Microsoft’s Azure Global Industry Sovereign Solutions in a company statement. 

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Courtesy of Microsoft

“The Modular Data Centre solves this by bringing Azure to these environments, providing datacenter scale compute resources closest to where they’re needed.”

Microsoft has announced that, in addition to several ongoing trials with unnamed partners in the defence and private sectors, one of the first customers of the Modular Data Centre solution will be Elon Musk’s SpaceX. 

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Courtesy of Microsoft

“Microsoft is launching an Azure Space initiative to work with more businesses in the space industry to try to push Azure as a key provider of storage, connectivity, and cloud compute,” comments Karagounis. “The portable data center will connect to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband, and Microsoft and SpaceX are planning to link up Starlink and Azure further in the future.”

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Jun 14, 2021

Inside the future of Ireland’s subsea cable landscape

Interxion
AquaComms
euNetworks
IDA
4 min
Meet the industry experts sitting down to discuss subsea cabling, digital transformation, Data Gravity, and the fate of Ireland’s digital economy. 

On Tuesday, June 15, 2021, experts from Aqua Comms, GTT, euNetworks, the IDA, and European data centre leader Interxion will take part in a virtual panel to explore the evolving relationship between subsea cabling, digital transformation, Data Gravity and the future of Ireland’s digital economy. 

You can tune in to the event, which is taking place between 10:30 PM - 11:30 PM JST on Tuesday, here - or view it later on-demand. The hour-long panel will also conclude with a 20 minute Q&A session with the audience, moderated by Interxion’s Senior Director of Market Development, Mike Hollands

The Gateway to Europe

Since the first transatlantic cable was laid in 1858, briefly connecting Newfoundland and Valentia Island in County Kerry, Ireland has served as a critical gateway for North American organisations looking to gain access to Europe. 

Today, some of the largest firms in the world, like Pfizer, Janssen, Zurich, Metlife, Google and VmWare use Ireland for their European Headquarters. The combination of an English-speaking workforce (a boon made all the more important as Brexit makes the UK and the north of Ireland an increasingly complex environment that provides diminishing opportunities to access the rest of Europe), a cultural and regulatory landscape that welcomes foreign investment, and world-class connectivity makes the country an unparalleled choice for firms looking to establish a foothold in the EU. 

As a result, Ireland has become one of the world’s leading data centre hubs. And, thanks to the exponential growth of Data Gravity, and the increasingly essential nature of digital infrastructure, Ireland’s role as a launchpad into Europe is only likely to grow more prominent.  

The future of Ireland’s digital economy is, experts from Interxion argue, closely linked to its ability to provide connectivity between Europe and North America. The further development of the country’s subsea cable industry will form the keystone of the discussion being held on Tuesday, as experts from throughout the industry share their insights into the challenges and opportunities that face operators working towards a more connected future for Ireland. 

Meet the Experts 

On Tuesday, speakers from the IDA, Aqua Comms, GTT Communications, euNetworks, and Interxion will discuss key themes, including key facts about Ireland’s existing subsea infrastructure, plans for the future of the industry, the challenges that need to be overcome, the interaction between subsea and terrestrial networks, and the next steps in Ireland’s role as the gateway to Europe. 

Ciarán Delaney

Ciaran Delaney, VP of Operations and Optical Engineering, GTT
Ciaran Delaney, VP of Operations and Optical Engineering, GTT

Ciarán Delaney has served as the VP of Operations and Optical Engineering at GTT since 2017. With more than 10 years worth of experience in the telecoms industry, he’s a leading expert on transatlantic connectivity, with an in-depth knowledge of both submarine and terrestrial cable systems.  

Nigel Bayliff 

Nigel Bayliff, CEO, Aqua Comms
Nigel Bayliff, CEO, Aqua Comms

Currently serving as the CEO and Director of the Board at Irish submarine cable firm Aquacomms, Nigel Bayliff has more than 30 years of experience in the telecom infrastructure market. His past roles have granted him unique perspectives gained from buying, building and running international submarine cable networks as an operator as well as developing and implementing cables as a constructor. 

Toby Williams

Toby Williams, Head of Infrastructure Investment, euNetworks
Toby Williams, Head of Infrastructure Investment, euNetworks

As the Head of Infrastructure Investment at euNetworks, Toby Williams has spent over a decade developing digital infrastructure throughout Europe, Ireland, and the UK. He has also done extensive work developing dark fibre networks, which are a key component in providing the agility and capacity necessary for operators to overcome the challenges posed by Data gravity. 

Shane Nolan

Shane Nolan, Head of Technology and Emerging Business, IDA Ireland
Shane Nolan, Head of Technology and Emerging Business, IDA Ireland

The Irish Investment Development Agency (IDA) is one of the key drivers of overseas investment in the country, and is responsible for the attraction and development of foreign investment in Ireland. Shane Nolan has worked in various roles throughout the IDA for more than 18 years, and is currently serving as the organisation’s Head of Technology & Emerging Business. 

Mike Hollands 

Mike Hollands, Senior Director of Market Development, Interxion
Mike Hollands, Senior Director of Market Development, Interxion

Interxion: A Digital Realty Company, is one of Europe’s leading data centre operators and, as part of Digital Realty’s Platform DIGITAL, is taking a leading role in raising awareness of the threat posed by Data Gravity. Mike Hollands has served as Interxion’s Senior Director of Marketing Development & Strategy since 2017, and is a 15 year veteran of the industry. At Tuesday’s event, he will serve as moderator, guiding the discussion surrounding the evolution of Ireland’s role as a gateway to Europe and regional data centre and subsea cabling hub. 

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