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Microsoft adds to edge computing devices; brings new features to Azure Arc

Microsoft adds to edge computing devices; brings new features to Azure Arc

Microsoft held its Ignite event for developers recently and around the show there was a flurry of launches and announcements, including three new edge computing devices and new capabilities for its Azure Arc hybrid infrastructure manager, which is moving from preview into general availability.

The following company briefing has been made available through our partnership with Structure Research, an independent research and consulting firm with a focus on the cloud, edge, and data center markets.

Kubernetes support: Azure Kubernetes Service is now available on Azure Stack HCI, which is what Microsoft decided to re-brand Windows Server when it updated the enterprise warhorse with software-defined features. As with VMware’s embrace of Kubernetes, this goes to show that the great software vendors know they have to embrace the rise of containers.

Azure Arc: Arc was launched in beta a year ago. It is a tool that enables customers to manage Windows and Linux servers off or on-premise and in Azure or AWS and Google Cloud. It can also add Kubernetes clusters and deploy and manage Azure SQL or PostgresSQL on top. It is now in GA and Microsoft has also added an interesting new feature in preview, Azure Arc data services, which can run Azure SQL Managed Instances and Azure PostgreSQL Hyperscale across on-premise, within a multi-cloud environment, and at the network edge.

Edge devices: Lastly Microsoft is beefing up its physical device range with three new products. Azure Stack Edge Pro with GPU, Azure Stack Edge Pro R, and Azure Stack Edge Mini R. The first of these is a large 11U server that sits in a data center but the last two are portable, and the Mini can be carried in a backpack. They are clearly designed to compete with Amazon’s Snowcone range.

Analysis: Microsoft is a little behind Amazon in the edge hardware market, and there are some gaps in its portfolio, such as a cloud-in-a-rack type product. It is rumored that an AWS Outposts competitor will be coming to market shortly. But given the in-built advantage Microsoft has in on-premise and its early pioneering of hybrid cloud products like Azure Stack, it might seem a bit strange that it is not yet leading the pack.

Daniel Beazer, Contributing Analyst, Structure Research

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