Azure Arc: changing the way we think about hybrid cloud and multi cloud

July 6, 2022 James Hollins - Principal Cloud Solutions Architect

How many times have you heard the concept of being able to manage your VM (Virtual Machines) infrastructure through "a single pane of glass" solution? 
 

Having been in the industry myself for around 15 years now I've often heard this phrase. Unfortunately, no tooling has ever really come close to providing the level of functionality that users believed they were getting, but Microsoft is looking to change that, and more, with Azure Arc.
 
Azure Arc is about creating numerous additional capabilities to provide additional functionality within customers’ on-premises infrastructure. ringing it into the Azure ecosystem. Azure Arc is a set of Ecosystem-as-a-Service (EaaS) capabilities and tools that Microsoft have developed to help customers simplify the management of their on-premises infrastructure, and also innovate by providing the ability to run Azure data services on their datacentre infrastructure.

This can be achieved through a number of ways:

•    Arc-enabled infrastructure. 
    Arc-enabled management services.
    Arc-enabled data services. 

“Services such as Arc allow more traditional infrastructure teams ease their way into the public cloud arena without being thrown in at the deep end.” 

Navigating hybrid multi cloud

Let’s be clear, hybrid cloud is here to stay (well at least for the next few years). As more and more businesses look to migrate into public cloud it has become clear that some workloads just don’t belong for various reasons; age, complexity and supportability being a few. Many customers are also now beginning to explore multi-cloud to reduce risk and increase resilience but, at the same time, they do not want another toolset with additional cost and operational overhead. Azure Arc looks to solve these issues by introducing a unified platform to manage all VM infrastructure wherever it might be. 

As an example, I’ve worked with a specific customer in the last few months who were aligned to a hybrid cloud model. They had legacy monitoring tools for the on-premises infra that were end of life and needed to be replaced. Instead of replacing or reinvesting in third party tooling they have implemented the Azure Arc agents across the on-premises infrastructure, integrating into Azure Monitor, Update Management and Microsoft Sentinel. This is an ideal use case to bring legacy environments into the Azure ecosystem, with the added benefit of saving additional cost on third party tooling.

Operating Model

This can also alleviate the growing pains of operating models that we’ve seen so many customers endure, whether it be through the restructuring or upskilling of people as existing IT functions have struggled to keep up with the pace of change. Services such as Arc can be an enabler, allowing more traditional infrastructure teams ease their way into the public cloud arena without being thrown in at the deep end. 

Innovation

Whether plagued by latency issues, data residency, or regulatory requirements, Arc-enabled data services promise to alleviate these pain points by giving customers the ability to run Azure native services (Azure SQL MI and PostgresSQL (preview)) on your on-premises infrastructure and at edge with cloud-like scalability and elasticity. 

In conclusion, Azure Arc is changing the way we think about hybrid cloud and multi cloud. No longer do we need to search around for third party tools and cloud management overlays that can give you the single pane of glass. This is where Azure Arc now fits in.

James Hollins

James Hollins
PRINCIPAL CLOUD SOLUTIONS ARCHITECT
Claranet

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