Azure Private Multi-Access Edge Compute promises private 5G support
Microsoft last week revealed new Azure services, supported by partners, to support businesses using private 5G networks and end-to-end computer services.
The new services go through “Azure Private Multi-Access Edge Compute“Brand (MEC). Many partners contribute to the efforts, including operators, system integrators (SI) and independent software vendors (ISVs). Microsoft and these partners are collaborating to” develop Microsoft Azure Private MEC-validated customer solutions enterprises.
The idea behind Azure Private MEC is that different industries need to use low-latency private 5G wireless connections, probably because their operations are located remotely, such as oil rigs. They may need access to computing power located on the edge of the network. Azure Private MEC is seen as a partner tool to simplify the delivery of private 5G networking solutions for such organizations.
“Azure private MEC enables operators and system integrators to simplify the use of secure and private 5G networks and easily deliver ultra-low latency networks, applications and services to the edge of the enterprise,” Microsoft said in a statement.
“The evolution of private areas”
Azure Private MEC was described in Microsoft’s announcement as an “evolution of the Private Edge Zones.” Microsoft was preliminary last year. Edge Zone is a small version of Microsoft Azure services used for remote operations. Private Edge Zone is an instance that runs on the organization’s premises, not Microsoft’s facilities.
Azure Private MEC differs from Private Edge Zones by supporting “end-to-end computing, multi-access network stacks, and services for applications that work together at the far edge,” Microsoft explained.
New Azure Private MEC Services
Azure Private MEC consists of Microsoft services plus contributions from partners. Some “new” Microsoft products for Azure Private MEC were announced last week.
One of them is Azure Network Function Manager, which according to him is in the visualization stage landing page description. Azure Network Function Manager is charged as “providing access to a” consistent management experience for pre-validated mobile network functions to enable a private LTE / 5G solution “. These pre-confirmed solutions can be accessed from the Azure Marketplace store. Azure Network Function Manager is used with Azure Stack Edge, which provides “local cache and bandwidth” capabilities to optimize data transfers in Azure, according to landing page description.
Other new Microsoft Azure Private MEC services stem from Microsoft’s acquisition a year ago of several network companies defined in a telecommunications network, namely Established networks and Metaswitch Networks.
The new Established private network service combines established network technologies integrated with Microsoft Azure services. The well-established private network service is described as “a fully managed solution that enables mobile network operators and mobile service providers (SMEs) to provide private LTE / 5G network services to the enterprise quickly and securely”.
The new Metaswitch Fusion Core The service was described as “a fully containerized 5G core solution that supports all the network features needed to connect IoT devices over 4G or 5G radio networks.” Metaswitch Fusion Core supports the deployment of applications and the use of Azure services on the Azure Private MEC platform, the announcement explains.
New partner solutions
Microsoft’s partner solutions for Azure Private MEC support are located on the Azure Marketplace. The new solutions are available or coming from “Celona, ASOCS (coming soon), Netfoundry, Versa, Nuage Networks, VMWare SD-WAN from Velocloud, Fortinet (coming soon), 128 Technology (coming soon) and others to follow”, it is stated in Microsoft release.
“Our partners are critical to Azure’s private MEC to cover the hardware, applications and network ecosystem,” the statement added.
A breakdown of Azure Private MEC partners’ contributions was shown in this Microsoft chart:
Microsoft’s move to provide software-defined network support for operators is somewhat new. Last year, it bought Affirmed Networks and Metaswitch Networks to support those efforts, and it did additionally declared Azure will be an “operator platform” for telecoms that have 5G services.
Microsoft later created its own “Azure for operators“service program joined the MEF industry association, which is focused on the development of software-defined support for a comprehensive telecommunications network and ISV
Kurt Mackie is a senior news producer for the 1105 Media Converge360 group.