Technology

The Cloud Evolves: Microsoft Azure Arc Brings New Power & Flexibility

Microsoft Azure Arc is the latest announcement of a growing number of tools to support hybrid cloud applications. The product provides scalable on-premise controls.  

It was only a decade ago when corporate executives were asking, “What do you mean by the cloud?” In the short span of time, it has been a part of the computing landscape, the cloud has replaced many of the traditional on-site computing sites and resources.

Laith Pahlawan, Irvine IT services professional with Orange Crew shares feedback on Microsoft Azure Arc.

Enhanced Flexibility and Customized Applications

The rapidly evolving computing environment has now moved far beyond the simple question of on-premises or in the cloud. The era of hybrid computing integrates multiple elements to adapt systems to varying environments and system requirements.

The latest step in this transformative process is the introduction of Microsoft Azure Arc. The architecture of this application supports all aspects of computing needs in any environment, including:

  • On-premises. The Azure Stack Hub and HCI supports all hardware options
  • Edge. Interfacing with multiple sources with the Azure Stack Edge
  • Multi-cloud. Access and curate data in as many cloud-based resources as needed.

Microsoft Taking Aggressive Stance

The concept behind the Azure architecture was announced by Microsoft with its Stack offering two years ago. At the time, it made the offering universal by ensuring compatibility with Dell EMC, Cisco, HPE, Lenovo and others.

At the Orlando Microsoft Ignite conference in early November, the company introduced the Azure Arc as the next phase of its offering. The technology behind the product delivers the ability to function in a multi-cloud environment with an on-premises common control plane.

Microsoft has brought the Azure product to market in a collaborative environment. As a result, the company has added functionality and features based on market feedback from early innovators. The simplified approach of Arc is one of these modifications. The hybrid computing environment calls for the ability to deploy and manage solutions that are multi-cloud-based.

The use of Kubernetes orchestration tools is at the heart of the Arc concept. To facilitate early implementation, Microsoft is first introducing Azure SQL Database and Azure Database. Following its preview/beta strategy, the products are focused on PostgreSQL Hyperscale.

A Corporate Commitment

At the conference, the company put its full weight behind this new market segment, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella demonstrating the product and its ease of installation. He used the keynote presentation to state, “Azure Arc really marks the beginning of this new era of hybrid computing, where there is a control plane built for multi-cloud, multi-edge…not only that, but we for the first time support managed data services to be anywhere your computer is.”

Additional demonstrations were provided to show the power of the concept in a risk management environment. The core advantages touted include:

  • Ease of installation
  • Ease of on-premise configuration and control
  • Advanced security features
  • Positioning for ongoing implementation of Azure products and enhancements

It was noted following the conference that this announcement underlines the growing importance of hybrid computing. Google Cloud announced its entry, Anthos, earlier in the year, and Amazon has already released its VMware with and anticipated AWS Outpost product to fit this space.

Here to Stay and Expand

Bob O’Donnell of Techanalysis Research also summarized the impact of the product offerings by noting, “What it also shows is how much we’ve moved from a public cloud-specific world to a hybrid cloud world because more and more of the announcements that everybody’s doing are around private cloud on-premise. It’s another example of how the whole industry focus is pulling back from public cloud-only into more of a hybrid environment.”

Hybrid cloud offerings are increasingly demanded to allow enterprises to organize and control data and applications over multiple diverse environments. Managing and scaling access to multiple databases, Kubernete clusters, and dispersed servers are essential needs addressed by these offerings.

The final attraction to the Azure-type offerings is freeing users from on-premise control as well as full remote access. The ability to provide patches, upgrades, full security functions and scaling for on-demand access in multiple environments empowers management in a powerful architecture.

Prateek Kulhari

Prateek is a business editor who writes about various topics such as technology, health and finance. At Pressly, he works along with the colourful folks that build a nation through tech startups. He is also a professional football player and video games enthusiast.

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