No, Microsoft's not buying Adobe. ADBE is its edgy take on a smarter network storage gateway

The appliance of cloud science... on-premises

Not satisfied doing the hybrid thing with HCI in Azure Stack, Microsoft's ambitions to straddle both the on and off-prem tech world have also seen the Azure Data Box Edge released to general availability.

Rather than being a simple box in which to stash information, ADBE has enough smarts to filter and analyse data as it heads to Azure storage.

Designed as hardware that lives on-premises, the thinking goes that customers can use the machine to get some quick results by pre-processing data locally before the sets make their way to the cloud for something a bit more intense.

An onboard Intel Arria 10 FPGA is thrown into the mix if Azure Machine Learning is your thing. The programmable chip is intended to accelerate inferencing of data before it is slung back to base.

The device can also be used as a Network Storage Gateway, shunting data into Azure and managing connectivity or bandwidth issues.

The "hottest" data is cached locally, speeding up access and users can talk to the thing using NFS or SMB protocols, with storage showing up as shares on the local network. Data copied to those shares then goes to the appropriate location in the customer's Azure Storage account.

Users who don't really need the exotic edge hardware but want those storage smarts can opt for a standalone virtual appliance in the form of the Data Box Gateway instead. "The storage gateway capabilities are the same," according to Microsoft. But everyone likes a bit of FPGA machine learning, right?

If you need the hardware, Microsoft would be delighted to sell you something validated. However, rather than actually buying the gear, the software maker plans that customers will simply sign up for it and "pay-as-you-go" like Azure's other, cloudier services.

A spokesperson for Microsoft told us that the the hardware is currently available in the US and EU. US punters can expect to pay $695/month for the Edge or $125/month for the gateway.

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