Microsoft Azure Arc

Use Azure Management with Any Infrastructure to Simplify Operations and Get the Gift of Extra Time in Your Day

During the past 12 years, I have had many meetings with customers who run a mix of applications on-premises, in the cloud and at the edge. Managing these disparate systems has always been a time-consuming chore. Repeatedly, I have heard IT managers lament for a single management system that made sense.

Microsoft has innovated with individual connected management services, such as Azure Monitor and Azure Backup. It has also delivered a consistent platform through Azure Stack Hub, ensuring investments made in Azure can be used in disconnected environments. However, Azure Stack requires specialized hardware and a significant capital investment.

Resource sprawl hasn’t gone away during the past decade. It just continues to evolve. Most of the customers I work with must manage resources spread across multiple datacenters, clouds and edge locations.

[Solutions Brief: Cloud Strategy with Microsoft Azure]

Looking Through a Single Pane of Glass

Our customers tell us they are looking for a cloud-native control plane, which enables them to inventory, organize and enforce policies for their IT resources centrally, regardless of location.

After taking a close look at Microsoft Azure Arc, a set of technologies that extends the control plane of Azure to on-premises, multi-cloud environments and edge, I believe that solution has finally arrived.

Azure Arc enables customers to take a central, unified and self-service approach to manage their Windows and Linux Servers, Kubernetes clusters and Azure data services, from wherever they are. Azure Arc also extends adoption of cloud practices like DevOps and Azure security across premises, multi-cloud and edge environments.

In addition to extending the control plane for management, Azure Arc enables customers to run Azure data services anywhere.

Why Azure Arc to Govern Across Environments?

Look at your internal computing environment. How much do you have invested across your IT estate?

If your company’s like most, it has IT resources and assets, such as Kubernetes clusters, deployed in datacenters and public/private clouds. This sprawl makes it difficult to have visibility across your environment. It’s harder to manage, govern and meet your compliance requirements.

With Azure Arc, you can manage servers and Kubernetes clusters, getting the following benefits:

  • Asset organization and inventory of Windows and Linux Servers, Kubernetes clusters and Azure services, with a unified view in the Azure portal and API.
  • Universal governance of customer resources through Azure Policy.
  • Standardized role-based access control (RBAC) across systems and different types of resources.
  • Enabled application owners who can now apply and audit their applications, meeting compliance requirements.
  • The ability to measure and remediate compliance at scale and down to the individual application, server or cluster.

[Solutions Brief: Cloud Governance with System Soft Technologies]

Bridging Azure Management Across Environments

Millions of Azure resources are organized, governed and secured daily by customers using Azure Resource Manager (ARM). ARM is the control plane in Azure that provides robust deployment, management and governance capabilities with Azure Cloud Shell, Azure portal, API, RBAC, and Azure Policy for all Azure resources.

A key aspect of Azure Arc is the work Microsoft has done to extend Azure Resource Manager beyond Azure. This allows customers to 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 Arc extends Azure Management across on-premises, multi-cloud and edge.

What about Security?

We understand the importance of security and compliance to businesses. Microsoft has brought its leadership in cloud security to on-premises, multi-cloud and edge with Azure Arc.

Arc was built to bring capabilities and practices, such as RBAC, Azure activity log for auditing actions, Azure Lighthouse for secure delegated management, and enforcement of security policies through Azure Policy.

Leverage Cloud Best Practices On-Premises

Azure provides cloud DevOps and cloud-native configuration management at scale for all Azure resources. Such cloud practices are optimized for developers who need immediate and programmatic access to resources to create new cloud-native applications.

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 apps are deployed, configured and governed uniformly, using GitOps-based configuration management across on-premises, multi-cloud and edge.

Adopt cloud practices like config management at scale.

Easily Deploy to, Manage Multiple Locations at Scale

With Azure Arc, IT and development teams can manage the apps in existing stores and quickly light up a new location by eliminating manual error-prone and procedural tasks.

They also get these benefits:

  • At-scale configuration and deployment based on Azure subscriptions, resource groups and tags.
  • GitOps-based model for deploying configuration-as-code to one or many clusters.
  • Application deployment and update at scale.
  • Source control-based safe deployment practices when rolling out new applications and configurations.
  • Freedom for developers to use the tools they are familiar with.

Conclusion

Now that you have a good overview of Microsoft Azure Arc, we’d like to invite you to learn more.

System Soft Technologies (SSTech) is presenting a webinar, where we reveal case studies about how top performers have overcome the challenges of building a Modernized Hybrid Cloud Platform.

During the webinar, Azure Cloud Leaders from both Microsoft and SSTech will give you specific recommendations and techniques to drive adoption, accelerate modernization and achieve increased ROI for your current and future infrastructure environment.

[Webinar: There’s No Pain with a Single Pane of Glass: Managing the Chaos of Multiple Clouds and Diverse On-Premises Technology with Microsoft Azure Arc]

We will also share how we’ve blended a unique method and an automated hybrid platform to modernize our clients’ current infrastructure, enhancing digital customer experiences and driving top-line growth.

So, join us and Microsoft at 2 PM ET, Thursday, March 4, 2021, when we will give you more information about ARC and let you see it in action.

About the Author: Don Bilbrey

Don Bilbrey serves as Senior Cloud Architect at System Soft Technologies. Don, a technology nerd, knows his stuff when it comes to systems and storage solutions. He’s a people person, too. He showcases his humor and wit, as he energetically manages the service delivery needs of large enterprise customers.


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