What is Azure Stack Edge Pro 2?

Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 is a new generation of an AI-enabled edge computing device offered as a service from Microsoft. This article provides you an overview of the Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 solution. The overview also details the benefits, key capabilities, and the scenarios where you can deploy this device.

The Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 offers the following benefits over its precursor, the Azure Stack Edge Pro series:

  • This series offers multiple models that closely align with your compute, storage, and memory needs. Depending on the model you choose, the compute acceleration could be via one or two Graphical Processing Units (GPU) on the device.
  • This series has flexible form factors with multiple mounting options. These devices can be rack mounted, mounted on a wall, or even placed on a shelf in your office.
  • These devices have low acoustic emissions and meet the requirements for noise levels in an office environment.

Use cases

The Pro 2 series is designed for deployment in edge locations such as retail, telecommunications, manufacturing, or even healthcare. Here are the various scenarios where Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 can be used for rapid Machine Learning (ML) inferencing at the edge and preprocessing data before sending it to Azure.

  • Inference with Azure Machine Learning - With this solution, you can run ML models to get quick results that can be acted on before the data is sent to the cloud. The full data set can optionally be transferred to continue to retrain and improve your ML models. For more information, see how to Deploy Azure ML hardware accelerated models on Azure Stack Edge.

  • Preprocess data - Transform data before sending it to Azure via compute options such as containerized workloads and Virtual Machines to create a more actionable dataset. Preprocessing can be used to:

    • Aggregate data.
    • Modify data, for example, to remove personal data.
    • Subset data to optimize storage and bandwidth, or for further analysis.
    • Analyze and react to IoT Events.
  • Transfer data over network to Azure - Use this solution to easily and quickly transfer data to Azure to enable further compute and analytics or for archival purposes.

Key capabilities

Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 has the following capabilities:

Capability Description
Accelerated AI inferencing Enabled by the compute acceleration card. Depending on your compute needs, you may choose a model that comes with one, two or no Graphical Processing Units (GPUs).
For more information, see Technical specifications for Azure Stack Edge Pro 2.
Edge computing Supports VM and containerized workloads to allow analysis, processing, and filtering of data.
For information on VM workloads, see VM overview on Azure Stack Edge.
For containerized workloads, see Kubernetes overview on Azure Stack Edge
Data access Direct data access from Azure Storage Blobs and Azure Files using cloud APIs for additional data processing in the cloud. Local cache on the device is used for fast access of most recently used files.
Cloud-managed Device and service are managed via the Azure portal.
Offline upload Disconnected mode supports offline upload scenarios.
Supported file transfer protocols Support for standard Server Message Block (SMB), Network File System (NFS), and Representational state transfer (REST) protocols for data ingestion.
For more information on supported versions, see Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 system requirements.
Data refresh Ability to refresh local files with the latest from cloud.
For more information, see Refresh a share on your Azure Stack Edge.
Double encryption Use self-encrypting drives to provide a layer of encryption. BitLocker support to locally encrypt data and secure data transfer to cloud over https. For more information, see Configure encryption-at-rest
Bandwidth throttling Throttle to limit bandwidth usage during peak hours.
For more information, see Manage bandwidth schedules on your Azure Stack Edge.
Easy ordering Bulk ordering and tracking of the device via Azure Edge Hardware Center.
For more information, see Order a device via Azure Edge Hardware Center.
Specialized network functions Use the Marketplace experience from Azure Network Function Manager to rapidly deploy network functions. The functions deployed on Azure Stack Edge include mobile packet core, SD-WAN edge, and VPN services.
For more information, see What is Azure Network Function Manager? (Preview).
Scale out file server The device is available as a single node or a two-node cluster. For more information, see What is clustering on Azure Stack Edge devices? (Preview).

Components

The Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 solution consists of Azure Stack Edge resource, Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 physical device, and a local web UI.

  • Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 physical device - A compact 2U device supplied by Microsoft that can be configured to send data to Azure.

    Perspective view of Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 physical device

    To procure a device, go to the Azure Edge Hardware Center and place an order. Azure Edge Hardware Center service lets you choose from a variety of Azure Stack Edge SKUs as per your business need. You can order multiple units of a device type, ship multiple devices to different locations, save addresses for future orders, and also track the status of your orders.

    Once the order is delivered, you can configure your device and create an Azure Stack Edge resource to manage the device.

    For more information, go to Create an order for your Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 device.

  • Azure Stack Edge resource - A resource in the Azure portal that lets you manage an Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 device from a web interface that you can access from different geographical locations. Use the Azure Stack Edge resource to create and manage resources, view, and manage devices and alerts, and manage shares.

  • Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 local web UI - A browser-based local user interface on your Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 device primarily intended for the initial configuration of the device. Use the local web UI also to run diagnostics, shut down and restart the device, or view copy logs.

    The local web UI on the device currently supports the following languages with their corresponding language codes:

    Language Code Language Code Language Code
    English {default} en Czech cs German de
    Spanish es French fr Hungarian hu
    Italian it Japanese ja Korean ko
    Dutch nl Polish pl Portuguese - Brazil pt-br
    Portuguese - Portugal pt-pt Russian ru Swedish sv
    Turkish tr Chinese - simplified zh-hans Chinese - traditional zh-hant

    For information about using the web-based UI, go to Use the web-based UI to administer your Azure Stack Edge.

Region availability

The Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 physical device, Azure resource, and target storage account to which you transfer data don’t all have to be in the same region.

  • Resource availability - For this release, the resource is available in East US, West EU, and South East Asia regions.

  • Device availability - You should be able to see Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 as one of the available SKUs when placing the order.

    For a list of all the countries/regions where the Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 device is available, go to Availability section in the Azure Stack Edge Pro tab for Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 pricing.

  • Destination Storage accounts - The storage accounts that store the data are available in all Azure regions. The regions where the storage accounts store Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 data should be located close to where the device is located for optimum performance. A storage account located far from the device results in long latencies and slower performance.

Azure Stack Edge service is a non-regional service. For more information, see Regions and Availability Zones in Azure. Azure Stack Edge service doesn’t have dependency on a specific Azure region, making it resilient to zone-wide outages and region-wide outages.

To understand how to choose a region for the Azure Stack Edge service, device, and data storage, see Choosing a region for Azure Stack Edge.

Billing and pricing

These devices can be ordered via the Azure Edge Hardware center. These devices are billed as a monthly service through the Azure portal. For more information, see Azure Stack Edge Pro 2 pricing.

Next steps