Lumen Technologies struck its latest in a series of edge compute deals, this time teaming up with Microsoft in a long-term collaboration to tap the power of its Azure cloud platform.
Dave Shacochis, VP of Lumen’s enterprise portfolio strategy, told Fierce the pair plan to integrate Microsoft’s Azure stack with Lumen’s bare metal edge compute service to enable customers to launch Azure-based applications anywhere its edge network can reach. He noted this will open the door to private 5G deployments leveraging software technology Microsoft acquired through recent deals like its purchase of Affirmed Networks and rollouts of high-value Microsoft enterprise applications which have strict bandwidth and latency requirements.
“A lot of what we’re doing between our edge and all of the cloud players is really just making sure our edge computing capabilities are compatible with as many software development pipelines that will create the workloads of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Shacochis explained. “What this then allows us to do is get into the entire software ecosystem that’s formed up around Microsoft Azure.”
Lumen also recently inked an edge compute deal with mobile operator T-Mobile, but Shacochis said that was more focused on extending the reach of its network rather than on software capabilities.
Notably, Lumen’s deal with Microsoft will also see it tap the cloud vendor for more of its own IT needs and promote Azure as the preferred public cloud provider for enterprise customers. Microsoft in turn will use Lumen as a preferred vendor for its networking needs. Shacochis said this includes fiber infrastructure for Microsoft’s data centers, offices and other facilities across the world.
Lumen launched its bare metal edge compute service in December 2020, and currently has more than 35 live locations in the U.S. Thus far, Shacochis said the company has seen the most traction among “interaction intensive industries” such as financial services and media distribution, with these already moving ahead with deployments. He added it has also seen a significant amount of interest from “asset intensive industries” including education, healthcare and retails. However, he noted these players are largely still conducting proof-of-concept trials.
Shacochis added “we see applications across both those categories by leveraging Azure stack on Lumen edge.”