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An Introduction to Azure Arc

During his Ignite 2019 vision keynote, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, announced many new hybrid cloud products and services. The most significant announcement among them was Azure Arc, the hybrid and multi-cloud platform from Microsoft. This hybrid cloud platform has been appreciated by the experts as a "game-changer". So, we dissect Azure Arc today.

Business Challenges

Managing decentralized resources is a big organizational challenge as the resources are running on various locations such as on-premise data centers, partner data centers, and remote data centers. The need of the hour is to have a hybrid management layer to manage this distributed infrastructure. Azure Hybrid is the key to bridging this gap. However, Azure Hybrid is not just about Azure Stack; Azure Arc innovatively extends the Azure management to any decentralized infrastructure.

What is Azure Arc?

Azure Arc brings the cloud practice and Azure security to manage decentralized servers with extended Azure resource management benefits and can run Azure data services and microservices by leveraging on-premise containers and Kubernetes services. Its major capabilities include Azure Resource Manager, Azure Portal, Azure Shell, API, Azure Policy.

Benefits of Azure Arc

  • Hybrid Server Management
  • Onboard Servers (Windows or Linux, physical or virtual)
  • Role-based access control (RBAC)
  • Microsoft’s cloud security features
  • Run Data Service anywhere
  • Applications packaged and deployed as microservices running on Kubernetes
  • A single control pane for Azure native & Azure Arc resources

Why Azure Arc matters for organizations?

Azure Arc simplifies complexly distributed environments across on-premises, Edge, and other cloud providers. It provides a solution to overcome key challenges such as decentralized servers, inadequate compliance & control, insecure patch vulnerabilities, and auditing. Ease of expanding hybrid management by integrating servers to Azure using a guest agent which also extends the lifecycle of the servers and expands the Azure Resource Management benefits. Host upgrade management simplifies the primary and secondary host upgrade along with traffic manager for business continuity.

Apart from this, Azure Arc also provides a centralized approach to provisioning, managing database servers (SQL & PostgreSQL) from Azure data services to on-premises containers while leveraging container-based architecture with Kubernetes for instant database provisioning, elastic, and hyper-scale. Azure data studios have a new panel to connect and manage Azure resources.

Azure Arc also provides access to Azure security capabilities such as vulnerability assessment and advanced threat protection for resources running on-premises data centers. It sends the logs & telemetry data to Azure and showcases them in the dashboard with meaningful insights. While the “World View” feature showcases Azure Arc deployment across the world.

The hybrid approach facilitates organizations to organize and govern their on-premises environments along with cloud technologies. Azure Arc also allows collaboration with more than one cloud service provider and this hybrid strategy opens doors for cloud innovations and embraces other environments with a holistic enterprise solution.