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Microsoft' Azure Arc is a game changer in today's dynamic and ever changing cloud computing landscape

The 2019 edition of Microsoft Ignite – company’s premier event for the IT landscape, was loaded with announcements on different products and services portfolio.

While there were more than 150 announcements – the announcement about ‘Azure Arc’ was much applauded.

Touted to be a game-changer as IT environments get more complex, businesses can now get the benefits of Cloud in their own data center.

Some takeaways from the Announcement on Azure Arc:

  • Azure Arc is part of its Azure Management platform, bringing Azure Resource Manager to your choice of clouds.
  • The public preview doesn’t yet support Kubernetes, Microsoft has said that Azure Arc’s Kubernetes support is based on the same agent model, deployed via Helm.
  • Clusters don’t need to be always connected, so Azure Arc will be able to manage clouds running on ships or in remote areas, downloading updates and new policies when they connect.
  • Arc ensures that the same policies are running for the same code wherever it’s installed.
  • Arc’s agent doesn’t only set policies, it also monitors for compliance, and where necessary can remediate changed settings.
  • Customers can now realize the benefits of cloud innovation, including always up-to-date data capabilities, deployment in seconds (rather than hours), and dynamic scalability on any infrastructure.
  • Customers now have the flexibility to deploy Azure SQL Database and Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale where they need it, on any Kubernetes cluster.
  • Customers can get a limitless scale by seamlessly spinning up additional Kubernetes clusters in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) if they run out of capacity on-premises. Learn more about Azure data services anywhere.
  • Over 60% of enterprises use multiple clouds and a mix of on-premises and public cloud computing in their businesses so providing a single control pane, consistent management and security across this multi-dimensional environment is now becoming the new rules of engagement in the cloud wars,” said McQuire. “It means that Microsoft is becoming more attentive to customer needs, but it is also an indication that battle lines of competition in cloud are shifting towards managing the control pane.
  • With Azure Arc, Microsoft is enabling enterprises with legacy infrastructure to join the hybrid cloud bandwagon,
  • Azure Arc’s key differentiation lies in the balance between traditional, VM-based workloads and modern containerized workloads that operate in the same context of the hybrid and multi-cloud environments.
  • Enterprises can take advantage of the automation capabilities available through ARM templates and Azure API.
  • Enterprises can use Azure Security Center to ensure compliance of all the resources registered with Azure Arc irrespective of where they are deployed. quickly patch the operating systems running in VMs as soon as a vulnerability is found. Policies can be defined once and automatically applied to all the resources across Azure, data center, and even to VMs running in other cloud platforms.
  • All the resources registered with Azure Arc send the logs to the central, cloud-based Azure Monitor.
  • Azure Automation service can be used to perform mundane to advanced maintenance operations across the public cloud, hyrbid cloud and multi-cloud environments.
  • Azure Arc customers can use Azure Portal, Azure CLI, SDK, and 3rd party tools like Terraform to automate resource management like the way public cloud resources are managed.
  • Azure Arc makes it easy to run greenfield applications packaged and deployed as containers. published a specification called Open Application Model which simplifies modelling microservices composed of multiple containers.
  • Microsoft is also one of the first to bring managed data services to the hybrid cloud. Since these database services are packaged as containers and run on top of Kubernetes, managing them from the centralized Azure control plane becomes efficient.
  • Azure Arc is all set to become the overarching management layer for the newly announced hybrid cloud offerings including Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack HCI, and Azure Stack Edge. Depending on the footprint and the capability, they can run one or more supported Azure services through Azure Arc.
  • Compared to AWS Outposts, Microsoft Azure Arc doesn’t need proprietary hardware. Any Linux or Windows VM can be registered and managed through Azure. AWS Outposts are comparable to Azure Stack Hub managed through Azure Arc. Outposts run container infrastructure through ECS and EKS, unlike Azure Arc, AWS cannot manage external clusters to roll out policies and configuration.
  • Both can register external clusters and manage them through the same control plane. Both platforms can deploy applications across multiple clusters. Like Anthos, Azure Arc takes advantage of the Kubernetes foundation to run managed data services. But the key difference with Azure Arc is the first-class support for VMs. Customers can easily mix and match physical servers, VMs, and Kubernetes clusters within the hybrid environment. Google is yet to bring managed database services such as Cloud SQL and Bigtable to Anthos. Azure Arc runs SQL and PostgreSQL Hyperscale from day one. Anthos includes Cloud Run and Knative to simplify the developer experience of dealing with Kubernetes. Azure Arc encourages developers to embrace OAM design.