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Azure Updates: Operator Nexus; Kusto Graph Semantics

by MSCN Reporter
Staff Writer,

Microsoft CTO and technical fellow Victor Bahl discussed Azure Operator Nexus. Microsoft bills the offering as a next-generation hybrid cloud platform for communications service providers (CSP), capable of deploying Network Functions across different network settings, from cloud to edge.

Until recently, CSPs had to choose between using hardware middlebox appliances or network function virtualization to deploy network functions on a cluster of CPU servers. Bahl explained:

At Microsoft, we have been working on an innovative approach, which has piqued the interest of both industry personnel and the academic world—namely, deploying NFs on programmable switches and network interface cards (NIC). This shift has been made possible by significant advancements in high-performance programmable network devices, as well as the evolution of data plane programming languages such as Programming Protocol-Independent (P4) and Network Programming Language (NPL). For example, programmable switching Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASIC) offer a degree of data plane programmability while still ensuring robust packet processing rates—up to tens of Tbps, or a few billion packets per second. Similarly, programmable Network Interface Cards (NIC), or “smart NICs,” equipped with Network Processing Units (NPU) or Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), present a similar opportunity. Essentially, these advancements turn the data planes of these devices into programmable platforms. This technological progress has ushered in a new computing paradigm called in-network computing.

Managing stateful apps on a programmable data plane device has limited the reach of in-network computing. As a result, Microsoft is trying to adapt its offering to support on-rack resource augmentation architecture.

Microsoft Director of IoT Adam Bogobowicz looked into the ways that customers are working toward sustainability goals with

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