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Microsoft Previews Azure Arc for Managing Azure Stack HCI Virtual Machines

Microsoft this week announced a public preview of the ability to use Azure Arc to manage Linux or Windows virtual machines (VMs) when using Azure Stack HCI.

Azure Arc is Microsoft's multicloud management solution. Azure Stack HCI is a line of partner-built hardware products that organizations can use to run Azure services along with Azure VM workloads. The "hyperconverged infrastructure" (HCI) aspect of Azure Stack HCI refers to compute, storage and networking all happening on the same machine in a cluster.

The integration of Azure Arc with Azure Stack HCI, at preview, offers the following perks for IT pros:

  • Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates for VMs, enabling create, read, update and delete (CRUD) capabilities, plus automation.
  • The ability to "delegate CRUD permissions to other users and groups in the organization," which is done though an "ARM projections" role-based access capability.
  • The ability to place "Locks & Tags" on VMs using organizational policies, which is another ARM projections capability.

Microsoft is planning to add support for VM extensions on Azure Stack HCI "over the next few months." VM extensions will permit IT pros to do "post deployment configuration or provide easy integration with your favorite service," the announcement explained.

The announcement described having to make a couple of setup changes to enable Azure Arc to manage VMs in Azure Stack HCI. The actual provisioning of the VMs happens through the Azure Portal.

In a separate announcement this week, Microsoft offered arguments for using both Azure Arc and Azure Stack HCI to address various security issues in an increasingly "hybrid" (cloud services plus on-premises infrastructure) and multicloud world.

About the Author

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

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