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Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond: Oracle launches rugged edge-of-network box for hostile environments

Call me what you will – but don't drop me more than 26 times

Oracle has launched a rugged computer-filled box which users should feel comfortable dropping from a 1.2m height but no more than 26 times.

What Big Red calls the Roving Edge Device is a 40-core, 512GB RAM, 61TB storage machine that can take Oracle's cloud where there is no cloud.

The point of the "ruggedized, portable, scalable server node" is to do processing in hostile environments where connecting to the internet is tricky. That means they can respond to data without sending it back to the bit barn, and only send back meaningful conclusions when reconnected, according to Oracle.

The Roving Edge Device would allow customers to operate cloud applications and workloads in the field, including machine learning inference, real-time data integration and replication, augmented analytics, and query-intensive data warehouses in remote location, the company said.

Each box can be set up in groups of five to 15 nodes for a single cluster, starting at $160 per node per day. It weighs 84lb or about 38kg.

Regis Louis, vice president, EMEA cloud strategy at Oracle, said industries such as oil, gas, agriculture, and manufacturing could benefit from having devices as close as possible to where data is being produced.

But Oracle's pitch is that all this is enveloped within its cloud technologies, and forms what it calls Oracle Roving Edge Infrastructure. Louis said customers could go to their Oracle Cloud Infrastructure console to prepare virtual machines, data, databases, analytics, machine learning models, VMs, and so on. They could then order the device pre-loaded with the specified data and software, to be securely shipped by Oracle.

"Once you've deployed the device, it can run totally disconnected and can reconnect and can resynchronise with the cloud once you have network connectivity," he said.

It is ruggedized to comply with military standard 810 (MIL-STD 810), which The Register reckons means it can be dropped from a 1.2m height not more than 26 times. The specification also sets the extent to which it can withstand fungus, humidity, and something called salt fog, among many other hazards.

Those likely to consider deploying the device may well be limited to the Oracle faithful, according to Philip Carnelley, associate veep, software research at IDC Europe.

"It depends where you are at the moment, and who you're working with, but it might make a lot of sense to those already running a lot of Oracle," he said.

"You can get these sort of things from other people but with Oracle, it is intended to be a nice integrated piece with your data warehouse and so on."

Businesses are seeing the appeal of more analytics and machine learning on operational and IoT data at the edge of networks, even where there is a connection, because the cost of moving all that raw data back to a central cloud repository for analytics could be prohibitive, he said. ®

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