While hybrid approaches bring greater power and flexibility, they also present greater complexity. Microsoft announced Azure Arc at Ignite 2019 to better address these challenges. Azure Arc stands out in the market relative to other providers in its ability to simplify management of hybrid cloud. Using Azure Arc, organizations can deliver a broader range of services while simplifying matters of management and security.
Azure Arc provides unified control of resources whether those resources are on-premises, in Azure or in multi-cloud (whether you are using VMware, AWS or EC2.) Azure Arc can manage both VMs and Azure Data Services such as Azure SQL, Azure PostgreSQL and Kubernetes.
This opens new capabilities to developers and IT organizations. Developers get self-service access to on-premises resources, declarative configuration management and infrastructure as code abilities. IT organizations get the ability to use Azure Cloud security for on-premises resources which provide consistent security policy through Azure Threat Detection, Azure Vulnerability Assessment, centrally managed Role Based Access Control (RBAC), simplified compliance enforcement and auditing.
In technical terms, Azure Arc extends the Azure Control Plane by registering on-premise resources with the Azure Fabric Controller and Azure Resource Manager. Azure resources constantly report their state to the Fabric Controller and the Azure Resource Manager provides automation of those resources. This enables automation and monitoring of VMs running on VMware vSphere, Amazon EC2 and Google Computer Engine. With Azure Arc, any VM anywhere can potentially be managed by Azure. Azure Arc also supports the automation and monitoring of Kubernetes Cluster, Azure SQL and PostgreSQL. This means that on-premise resources can benefit from Azure managed updates, patching and security audits. Customers can take advantage of ARM templates for resource automation, tagging of resources and identity policies. Customers can leverage Azure Security Center to validate compliance of resources regardless of where they are deployed. Azure Arc resources send logs to Azure Monitor centralized logging service. Finally, Azure Arc enabled resources can be seen in the Azure Portal “single pane of glass” and managed via Azure CLI, Azure SDK, etc.
The big win here is that Azure Arc treats your on-premise infrastructure as a first-class citizen of the cloud. Microsoft isn’t forcing you to run your workloads on their infrastructure to benefit from their unified cloud management capabilities. Furthermore, Azure Arc bridges the gulf between on-premises and cloud which helps you to manage your legacy environments and simplify your efforts in digital transformation.
Azure Arc expands Microsoft’s already strong portfolio of hybrid cloud services which include Azure and Azure Stack.
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