Microsoft introduces new Azure Data Box solutions, boosts Azure Stack capacity

These days, the words "Microsoft" and "Edge" are usually associated with the Redmond giant's browser for Windows 10 and sometimes for the wrong reasons as evidenced by new test functionality that dissuaded users from installing rival browsers that was later rolled back in a later build. However, the company has made progress with its Azure IoT Edge platform revealed at Build 2017 and has announced a number of new solutions in the edge computing space.

In terms of official releases, Microsoft has announced at Ignite 2018 that Azure Data Box has now entered general availability after being in preview for a year. The toughened, tamper-resistant appliance features 100TB of storage for secure offline transport of data to Azure which may be ideal if online transfers are unreliable. However, if that's not enough, a larger version in the form of Azure Data Box Heavy is now available in preview with a whopping 1 petabyte of storage onboard.

Otherwise, if online data transfers to Azure are more appropriate for your needs, the company has also introduced two additional solutions to the Data Box suite in preview form. Azure Data Box Edge is a physical appliance that can "help customers analyze, process, and transform data before uploading it to the cloud" at the edge by leveraging machine learning algorithms and field-programmable gate array (FPGA) hardware. There will also be a Data Box Gateway virtual appliance, compatible with Hyper-V and VMWare, that can facilitate data transfers to Azure Storage.

Meanwhile, for those that are running Azure Stack instances, initially released last year, the capability to extend a single Stack to 16 nodes will roll out to integrated solutions acquired from Avanade, Cisco, HPE, Huawei, and Lenovo over the next few weeks. The change was foreshadowed by Microsoft back in February with operators having been limited to provisioning a total of 12 nodes since general availability.

It is expected that Microsoft will disclose further details about its Data Box products and Azure Stack capacity upgrade soon.

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