Announced last fall, Azure Modular Datacenter, or MDC, is basically an Azure datacenter in a shipping container, delivered to remote locations on a truck bed. It’s running Azure Stack Hub (for now) and can run disconnected or connected via satellite. Beyond the datacenter device itself, Azure MDC is interesting for a number of reasons.
When Microsoft announced MDC last October, many readers and commentators wondered why Microsoft was taking another stab at the idea of Azure in a container. After all, Microsoft had been dabbling with Azure in shipping containers since 2008 — a couple of years after other tech companies like Sun Microsystems (with “Project Blackbox” back in 2006) had been pushing forward with the datacenter-in-a container concept.
Microsoft’s Bill Karagounis, who these days is General Manager, Azure Global Industry Sovereign Solutions, supplied the following answer to that question:
“Containerized solutions in the past required operators