Microsoft partners with the industry to unlock new 5G scenarios with Azure Edge Zones
By Yousef Khalidi Corporate Vice President, Azure Networking
April 1, 2020
Cloud, edge computing, and IoT are making strides to transform whole industries and create opportunities that weren't possible just a few years ago. With the rise of 5G mobile connectivity, there are even more possibilities to deliver immersive, real-time experiences that have demanding, ultra-low latency, and connectivity requirements. 5G opens new frontiers with enhanced mobile broadband up to 10x faster, reliable low-latency communication, and very high device density up to 1 million devices per square kilometer.
Today we’re announcing transformative advances to combine the power of Azure, 5G, carriers, and technology partners around the world to enable new scenarios for developers, customers, and partners, with the preview of Azure Edge Zones.
New 5G customer scenarios with Azure Edge Zones
Azure Edge Zones and Azure Private Edge Zones deliver consistent Azure services, app platform, and management to the edge with 5G unlocking new scenarios by enabling:
Building on our previous work with AT&T, we’re announcing the preview of Azure Edge Zones with carriers, connecting Azure services directly to 5G networks in the carrier’s datacenter. This will enable developers to build optimized and scalable applications using Azure and directly connected to 5G networks, taking advantage of consistent Azure APIs and tooling available in the public cloud. We were the first public cloud to announce 5G integration with AT&T in Dallas in 2019, and now we're announcing a close collaboration with AT&T on a new Edge Zone targeted to become available in Los Angeles in late spring. Customers and partners interested in Edge Zones with AT&T can register for our early adopter program.
These new zones will boost application performance, providing an optimal user experience when running ultra-low latency, sensitive mobile applications, and SIM-enabled architectures including:
With Azure Edge Zones we’re expanding our collaboration with several of our carrier partners to bring the Azure Edge Zones family to our mutual customers later this year.
In addition to partnering with carriers, we'll also deliver standalone Azure Edge Zones in select cities over the next 12 months, bringing Azure closer to customers and developers in highly dense areas.
Azure Private Edge Zones
We’re also announcing the preview of Azure Private Edge Zones, a private 5G/LTE network combined with Azure Stack Edge on-premises delivering an ultra-low latency, secure, and high bandwidth solution for organizations to enable scenarios, like with Attabotics, accelerating e-commerce delivery times by using 3D robotic goods-to-person storage, retrieval, and real-time order fulfillment solutions. This solution leverages Azure Edge Zones and IoT technologies such as Azure IoT Central and Azure Sphere.
Partnering with the broad industry of carriers, systems integrators, and technology partners, we're launching a platform to support orchestration and management of customers' private cellular networks to enable scenarios such as:
A consistent Edge Zone solution
Together, Azure, Azure Edge Zones, and Azure Private Edge Zones unlock a whole new range of distributed applications with a common and consistent architecture companies can use. For example, enterprises running a headquarters’ infrastructure on Azure, may leverage Azure Edge Zones for latency sensitive interactive customer experiences, and Azure Private Edge Zones for their remote locations. Enterprise solution providers can take advantage of the consistent developer, management, and security experience, allowing developers to continue using Github, Azure DevOps, and Kubernetes Services to create applications in Azure and simply move the application to either Azure Edge Zones or Private Edge Zones depending on the customer's requirements.
New possibilities for the telecommunication industry with Azure
For the last few decades, carriers and operators have pioneered how we connect with each other, laying the foundation for telephony and cellular. With cloud and 5G, there are new possibilities by combining cloud services, including compute and AI, with mobile high bandwidth and ultra-low latency connections. Microsoft is partnering with carriers and operators to bring 5G to life in immersive applications built by organizations and developers.
Carriers, operators, and networking providers can build 5G-optimized services and applications for their partners and customers with Azure Edge Zones, taking advantage of Azure compute, storage, networking, and AI capabilities. For organizations that want an on-premises, private mobile solution, partners and carriers can deploy, manage, and build offers with Azure Private Edge Zones. Customers need help understanding the complexities of the cellular spectrum, access points, and overall management. Carrier partners can help such enterprises manage these scenarios including manufacturing, robotics, and retail.
In addition to new business application opportunities, we're looking to transform 5G infrastructure with cloud technology. Today, most 5G infrastructure is built on specialized hardware with high capital expenditures and little flexibility. Microsoft will be working to help operators reduce costs and build capacity for their network workloads in new and innovative ways. Last week, we announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Affirmed Networks, a leader in fully virtualized cloud-native mobile network solutions. We look forward to building on their great work and technology expertise to do even more to create new opportunities for customers, technology partners, and operators in virtual mobile networks
As we continue to innovate and discover new, interesting ways to provide unique scenarios built with 5G and our Edge Zone platforms we will be sure to keep you updated. Please visit our page to learn more and keep track of the latest news here<