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Microsoft Releases Azure Data Box, Unveils 'Heavy' Version

Azure Data Box, Microsoft's heavy-duty data transfer appliance for the cloud, is now generally available after a nearly year-long preview phase.

Microsoft announced the product's general availability on Monday as part of its 2018 Ignite conference, taking place this week in Orlando, Fla. Also at Ignite on Monday, the company announced that new online capabilities, Azure Data Box Edge and Azure Data Box Gateway, have emerged as preview releases.

In addition, the company is addressing the needs for extra-large offline data transfers by introducing the 1PB Azure Data Box Heavy, which is also in preview.

Microsoft describes the now-available Azure Data Box as a "ruggedized device" that organizations can rent from Microsoft when they need to transfer large amounts of data -- up to 100TB -- securely and quickly to the Azure cloud.

Meanwhile, the new "Heavy" version that's in preview supports the transfer of even bigger data volumes, offering 1PB of raw capacity. With 40 Gbps connectors, Azure Data Box Heavy allows for an entire datacenter's worth of data to be moved to Azure in a few weeks' time, according to the announcement.

According to the announcement, Azure Data Box Edge is an "on-premises appliance with AI-enabled edge compute capabilities" and will be able to act as a storage gateway, "creating a link between your site and Azure storage." By providing a local cache, Azure Data Box Edge can help optimize network traffic to and from the cloud.

An IoT Edge computing platform is also provided by Azure Data Box Edge, "which lets you deploy Azure services and custom code and applications to the edge." Microsoft claims this will allow you to analyze, filter or transform data right at the edge. And for machine learning workloads, Microsoft's Project Brainwave, currently in preview, will power the FPGA option.

For those who only want to deploy the storage gateway functionality on their own systems, Azure Data Box Gateway will be available as a standalone virtual appliance.

More information on the Data Box lineup is available here.

About the Author

Wendy Hernandez is group managing editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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