Microsoft Azure sharpens 'tactical edge' cloud services with Dell EMC

Microsoft is blending its Azure cloud capabilities with Dell EMC for use by government agencies. (Pixabay)

Microsoft has forged a partnership with Dell EMC to provision cloud services to the "tactical edge" for U.S. government customers.

The goal of the new products is to be able to process data in remote locations without worrying about low latency or even internet connectivity, according to a blog post by Tad Brockway, general manager of Azure Storage and Azure Stack.

The new products, which include the Dell EMC Tactical Microsoft Azure Stack and Azure Data Box, were designed to support connectivity in disaster areas, humanitarian relief efforts and U.S. military operations.

"As U.S. government agencies support missions around the world, in remote locations, and beyond the reach of standard infrastructure, new technology is required for mission success," Brockway said. "Microsoft offers a comprehensive portfolio designed to bring data analysis and insight to the tactical edge. Azure Stack and our Data Box family of products help government agencies with remote operations access the information they need to make decisions at the edge, along with access to the full range of cloud data analytics as connectivity allows."

The Dell EMC Tactical Microsoft Azure Stack, which is based on the Azure Stack platform, is a "ruggerized" appliance that will be sold through Dell EMC. It allows users to spin up loud services in remote locations the same way they are provisioned in on-premise data centers.

The platform, which is fully mobile and portable, can also provide connectivity to Microsoft's Azure Government, Azure Secret and Azure Top Secret offerings. The Dell EMC Tactical Microsoft Azure Stack is available in the first quarter of this year to customers in the United States with availability in additional countries to follow throughout the rest of the year.

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Azure Data Box is a portfolio of products that includes Azure Data Box Edge, Azure Data Box Gateway, Azure Data Box Disk and Azure Data Box Heavy. The solutions, which include some machine learning capabilities, were designed to process and transfer data in edge-based locations.

Both solutions offer full regulatory compliance and "the most up-to-date edge capabilities," according to Microsoft.

In August, Microsoft announced its Azure Stack on-premises cloud platform that was designed for use by U.S. government agencies. Microsoft is competing with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other cloud providers to land the Department of Defense's $10 billion cloud contract that's known as JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure).