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Microsoft Offers More Details on Azure Arc for Hybrid Cloud, Data Management

Microsoft on Tuesday released more information about Azure Arc, the hybrid cloud and infrastructure toolkit it announced during the opening keynote of its Ignite 2019 conference in Orlando, Fla.

In a blog post, Jeremy Winter, Microsoft's partner director of Azure management, explained that while previously the company offered hybrid capabilities in its tools like Azure Monitor, Azure Backup and Azure Stack Hub, nothing really brought everything together -- from cloud platforms like Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud to edge computing infrastructure to Kubernetes clusters to on-premises Windows and Linux servers.

And that's what Microsoft's saying Azure Arc will do. It's a suite of tools that will let enterprises manage everything together, mainly using Azure Resource Manager.

Winter writes that, via Azure Arc, Microsoft has extended Azure Resource Manager "beyond Azure so that customers have a central and unified approach to manage Windows and Linux Servers, Kubernetes clusters and Azure data services at scale across on-premises, multi-cloud and edge."

"Azure Resource Manager is the control plane in Azure that provides robust deployment, management, and governance capabilities with Azure Cloud Shell, Azure portal, API, role-based access control (RBAC) and Azure Policy for all Azure resources," he continued. Azure Arc also allows clients to use Azure Active Directory combined with Azure Lighthouse and Azure Policy for security and governance throughout their infrastructure.

Winter also touted how easy Azure Arc is for developers to use to spin up new instances in a DevOps environment: "[C]loud practices are optimized for developers that need immediate and programmatic access to resources to create new cloud-native applications," he wrote. "Azure Arc extends these capabilities to any infrastructure across on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge environments. Developers can build containerized apps with the tools of their choice and IT teams can use configuration as code to ensure that the apps are deployed, configured, and governed uniformly using GitOps-based configuration management across on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge."

And with Azure Arc, enterprises will be able to use Azure data services anywhere, a hybrid data service, on any platform. "This means if you are running Azure Arc, you can run Azure SQL Database in your datacenter, or even that of another cloud provider," data expert Joey D'Antoni explains. "This enables you to have a true hybrid experience with a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering."

Azure Arc is available in preview mode. A final release date has not yet been provided. On the server side, it runs on Windows Server 2012 R2 and newer, as well as Ubuntu 16.04 or 18.04.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital strategy. She also serves as executive editor of the group's media Web sites, and you'll even find her byline on PureAI.com, the group's newest site for enterprise developers working with AI. She recently gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web technology may impact publishers' bottom lines. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.

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