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The Cloud, the Edge, and 5G: An IT Party of Three with Azure Edge Zones

Chloe Dupuis Published on Apr 21,2020
The Cloud, the Edge, and 5G: An IT Party of Three with Azure Edge Zones
Cloud-native apps and platforms are running on the edge, and that’s just the start. By working with carriers and enterprises, Microsoft is bringing 5G to the edge and on premises with Azure Edge Zones

What are Azure Edge Zones?

Azure is on the edge. That’s to say, Azure extensions – or Microsoft “micro data centers” – are being placed in areas outside current Azure regions, on the Microsoft global network, and they’re being called Edge Zones.

Until now, cloud platforms have generally been deployed as centralized tools. Azure Edge Zones are changing that by putting hardware platforms closer to end users. With a focus on metro NYC, LA, and Miami, these zones allow users to run cloud-native apps and platforms on the edge, where the data is generated. This reduces response time for those latency-sensitive, high-throughput modern apps by providing high-bandwidth connectivity between the edge zones and Azure services within Azure regions.

Taking it one step further, Microsoft also announced their work with carriers to extend the concept of edge zones and include the 5G network.

Teaming up with 5G

Called “Azure Edge Zones with Carrier”, this collaborative approach places those Azure extensions, or microdata centers, in carrier data centers, one hop away from their 5G network; edge zones are run within the 5G infrastructure of telecom providers, rather than on Microsoft’s global network. By placing these cloud computing resources directly at device network connection points, response times and latency are optimized for AI or IoT applications receiving real-time sensor data, for instance.

In one example, an automobile manufacturer teams up with a telecom service provider to add 5G eSIM to every car. The vehicle can then communicate with the connected vehicle platform running on Azure, which is running across various edge locations managed by the telecom provider. In other words, these types of communications just got a whole lot faster.

Getting more done on the edge also means more dispersed network traffic and, in turn, reduced traffic on core networks. With 5G just getting started and latency times not quite yet as low as anticipated, this is certainly a push in the right direction.

Something for the enterprises

This convergence of cloud-based managed services, reliable hardware, and high-speed 5G networks is also available on premises with Azure Private Edge Zones. Here, those micro-data-center Azure extensions are placed on site, allowing enterprises to build and run applications on their private mobile networks using the same tools used to build and run apps on Azure. This is especially beneficial for running high-security/sensitivity apps, for example, and allows for low-latency access to any computing or storage services running on premises. As digital transformation becomes a top priority for SMEs, private edge zones have a lot to offer.

7Clouds - Contact us today to make the most of the merge between 5G and the intelligent cloud with our managed services, custom enterprise plans, and connectivity at the heart of it all in NYC.


Bob O’Donnell. Microsoft’s New Azure Edge Zones Highlights Opportunity To Combine 5G And Edge Computing. April 2020.
Janakiram MSV, Microsoft Unveils A Comprehensive Edge Computing Strategy With Azure Edge Zones. April 2020.
Microsoft. About Azure Edge Zones – Preview. April 2020.
Image: Pixabay

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