Microsoft modular data center

Microsoft unwraps modular data center

For organizations who want to take a cloud with them to remote or disconnected environments, Microsoft has introduced Azure modular data centers.

The transportable, self-contained data centers offer Azure cloud services for disaster response, military missions and other use cases requiring high-intensity secure computing on Azure. The field-transportable data center is a ruggedized, radio-frequency-shielded unit that has networking and security capabilities built in. It also includes HVAC and cooling capabilities, and the server racks are on shock plates so they can withstand movement. Once deployed it can act as critical infrastructure where temperature, humidity and even uneven surfaces can pose a challenge to traditional hardware.

The modular data centers, which Microsoft said are in early use with defense and private-sector organizations, allow customers to run workloads on-premises with low-latency connections to their own data center in areas where limited network availability and access to specialized infrastructure once would have prevented taking advantage of cloud computing. 

Microsoft is partnering with satellite operators to provide backup satellite connectivity, though customers can use satellite networks as their primary communications connection.

The company has been experimenting with modular data centers for some time as part of an effort to move data centers powered by renewable energy closer to coastal computing hubs. In September, it hauled its underwater data center up from the bottom of the North Sea where it had been running for two years to test the feasibility of lights-out underwater operations.

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