Microsoft Announces Azure Arc Multicloud Management Perks

Microsoft on Wednesday announced enhancements to its Azure Arc multicloud management solution as used with its Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and Azure Machine Learning (ML) services.

The announcements were part of an "Azure Hybrid, Multicloud and Edge Day" online Microsoft presentation, which is now available for viewing on demand. Highlights, along with customer success stories, are also described in this Azure Arc announcement by Kathleen Mitford, corporate vice president of Azure marketing. She described Azure Arc as "a bridge that extends the Azure platform so you can build applications and services with the flexibility to run across datacenters, edge and multicloud environments."

Azure ML Kubernetes Compute Service GA
The Azure ML Kubernetes compute service is now at the "general availability" (GA) commercial-release stage, per an announcement. The compute service enhances security and controls when deploying Azure ML workloads on a "customer-managed AKS cluster." It'll work, too, with Azure Arc-managed Kubernetes clusters, "across multiple public clouds" as well with "hybrid" operations (cloud services plus on-premises infrastructure), Microsoft explained.

The GA release of the Azure ML Kubernetes compute service is described as a way for IT departments to make life easier for data science teams. These teams are said to "not need to learn or use Kubernetes directly" after IT sets up the service.

Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal Preview
Microsoft also announced a preview of the ability to oversee Azure Arc-managed infrastructures using the Windows Admin Center portal within the Azure Portal.

The announcement explained that this portal within a portal approach, using a browser, will make it easier for organizations to connect with remote cloud resources without additional setup. Here's how it was put:

We are excited to announce that Windows Admin Center can now manage your Microsoft Azure Arc-enabled infrastructure from the Azure portal. This new capability enables seamless and granular management of your Arc-enabled Windows servers and virtual machines as well as Azure Stack HCI systems from within the Azure portal. You can securely manage your servers and clusters from the cloud -- without needing a VPN, public IP address, or other inbound connectivity to your machine.

The connections are said to be secure because the Azure Arc agent is used to communicate with Azure services. These connections are protected by Secure Socket Layer end-to-end encryption.

This preview of the Windows Admin Center in the Azure Portal capability is just available for Azure Stack HCI customers and Azure Arc customers managing "Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, or Windows Server 2016 in the Azure public cloud," the announcement explained.

Azure Arc Extensibility Model
Microsoft also this week highlighted its extensibility model for Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes.

The extensibility model helps support "application integration requirements regardless of the Kubernetes distribution and its location," Microsoft explained in this announcement.

One extension is GitOps with Flux, which is used to automate "GitOps configuration deployments in your cluster." Another extension is Open Service Mesh, which adds observability in "highly dynamic microservice environments."

Microsoft also highlighted the Azure Key Vault Provider extension for "secrets," as well as the Distributed Application Runtime (Dapr) for building "resilient, stateless and stateful applications that run on the cloud and edge." There's also a Azure Arc-enable SQL Managed Instance extension.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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