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. 

undefined

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. 

undefined

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.”

Share article

Apr 12, 2021

Target joins Open Compute Project to become platinum member

Networking
EdgeComputing
Technology
Partnership
Sam Steers
2 min
Courtesy of Getty Images
U.S retailer Target will join the Open Compute Project as a platinum member, the first major U.S retailer to do so after seeing record growth last year...

U.S retail corporation Target will join the Open Compute Project (OCP) as a Platinum member following record growth for the company in 2020.

The announcement was made during an ICCON conference hosted by the U.S retailer last week, and the partnership aims to expand the development of edge computing use cases within the company. 

The retailer is the first major U.S retailer to become a platinum member, paving the way for others to join the partnership in the future. 

"We are very excited to join the OCP and partner with the community on new use cases for networking and edge computing," said Mike McNamara, Chief Information Officer of Target.

He added: "This type of open and increased collaboration will help us all create better technology that’s purpose-built for enterprise needs."

Target also has a distributed footprint, which McNamara says can influence new OCP use cases for networking and edge computing.

This news follows a rise in growth for the organisation in 2020, with customers shopping with the retailer and using their "same-day services."

The Open Compute Project claims that it allows Target to partner with industry leaders in cloud technology, as the majority of the retailer's success "is supported by underlying technology," says Target.

Bill Carter, CTO for the Open Compute Project Foundation, believes that joining the business is not a first for Target.

He said: “Working together and open sourcing is not new for Target. Many of the retailer’s engineers have already been involved in various OCP Projects and we’ve seen tremendous value from their participation.

"Today’s announcement further demonstrates Target’s long-term commitment to advance and contribute to the open source community for the benefit of all,” concluded Carter.

Share article