Microsoft's Azure Data Box Edge gets rugged, portable option

Microsoft is readying a ruggedized version of its Data Box Edge data-transfer appliance and service, targeted heavily at government customers.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is extending its Azure Data Box family with a new ruggedized version that can fit in a backpack. The newest member, ruggedized Azure Data Box Edge, is an appliance for transferring data to and from Azure.

The new ruggedized Data Box can be used by "forward-deployed operating units, ground patrols or similar mission needs at the tactical edge," officials said. The device is battery-powered and light. It's a variant of the current Data Box Edge appliance, and like that device can analyze, process and transform on-premises data before it is uploaded to Azure.

Microsoft announced on October 3 that the new ruggedized Data Box Edge would be coming soon and will meet the MIL-STD-810G and MIL-STG-461 standards. Like the regular Data Box Edge, the device has an onboard field-programmable gate array (FPGA) processor for accelerating machine learning, which should matter to military operations and other applications where speed is of the essence. Microsoft is partnering with Klas Telecom to make this new ruggedized device. 

Microsoft began testing its first Azure Data Box data-transfer appliance and service in 2017. These products are Microsoft's competitors to Amazon's AWS Snowball.  

In other government-related news, Microsoft also announced last week that PowerApps and Flow are rolling out to Government Community Cloud (GCC) High environments. Team Phone Systems and Audio Conferencing are now rolling out to GCC and the Department of Defense as of mid-October. And Microsoft announced its Sequoia Combine emulator service, currently in preview, that offers an approved, trusted, and proven approach for IC and DOD air-gapped region solution development for its Azure Government and Azure Government Secret customers. Microsoft also recently announced the availability of its Defender Advanced Threat Protection service for GCC High customers.

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