Microsoft recently shared with Data Center Knowledge that they are preparing to release three types of Azure Edge Zones to support the goal of building a "global computing infrastructure substrate."
These new Azure Zones are called Edge Zones, Private Edge Zones, and Edge Zones with Carrier and are designed to go beyond the traditional public cloud and support emerging technologies such as Edge, IoT, and 5G by creating mini Azure regions that deliver little to no latency to users' connected devices and applications and to bring mini Azure regions closer to users including running cloud services inside a carrier's network.
Microsoft started previewing at the end of March, and are meant to cover multiple “edge” types and use cases that go beyond traditional public cloud by leveraging the improved latency of ExpressRoute, Azure with 5G through a carrier, and Azure in private industrial or retail deployments with 5G connectivity.
“We want to make computing available almost anywhere, from a big region with lots of compute power and cheap storage augmented with Edge Zones to customer premises,” Yousef Khalidi, Corporate VP for Azure Networking said. “It’s a global computing infrastructure substrate.”
One of the keys to Microsoft's new Azure Edge Zones offerings is the company's promise to deliver the same experience across Azure public cloud, Azure Stack Hub (on-premise), Azure Stack Edge, or even the Azure Arc control plane for Kubernetes clusters in non-Azure clouds. Unlike AWS and Google who use partners for 5G, Microsoft is creating a fully integrated solution that offers Azure customers access to anything from a global public cloud to a localized mobile network through the Azure portal.