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Microsoft Previews Future of Hybrid Cloud with Azure Arc

Azure Arc comes two years after Microsoft released Azure Stack, offered via Dell EMC, HPE, Cisco, Lenovo and others.

Jeffrey Schwartz

November 5, 2019

3 Min Read
Microsoft Previews Future of Hybrid Cloud with Azure Arc

(Pictured above: Microsoft’s Erin Chapple on stage at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Nov. 4.)

MICROSOFT IGNITE — Microsoft is fleshing out its hybrid cloud capabilities with technology that will provide a common control plane on premises, in the public cloud and at the edge with the introduction of Azure Arc. The new technology debuted Monday at Microsoft Ignite, the company’s largest annual technology gathering, taking place this week in Orlando, Florida.

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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on stage at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando, Nov. 4.

In addition to enabling a more simplified approach to managing and operating Azure data services in hybrid scenarios, Azure Arc aims to let partners deploy and manage solutions in multicloud environments using a variety of Kubernetes orchestration tools.

Azure Arc’s first deliverable will come in the form of Azure SQL Database and Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale, available now in preview. Microsoft said it will offer additional Azure data services in the future. Azure Arc uses Microsoft’s Azure Resource Manager, Microsoft Azure Cloud Shell, Azure portal and Microsoft Azure Policy. It also supports the various Azure APIs.

“Azure Arc really marks the beginning of this new era of hybrid computing, where there is a control plane built for multicloud, multi edge,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during his opening keynote at Ignite Monday. “And not only that, but we for the first time support managed data services to be anywhere your compute is.”

Erin Chapple, Microsoft’s corporate VP for Azure Compute, demonstrated how Azure Arc capabilities will provide common management of a risk management application sharing resources on an HPE Superdome server running in an Orlando data center to the Azure public cloud via the Azure portal and dashboard using container instances of Azure SQL and PostgreSQL that currently are only available in Azure.

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Azure Arc, courtesy Microsoft

“Typically, [deploying a SQL] VM on premises is a lengthy process that could take hours,” Chapple said. “But as you can see, in a matter of seconds, I was able to install Azure SQL database into my data center. Even better, I now have access to all of Azure’s unique security capabilities.”

The introduction of Azure Arc comes two years after Microsoft released Azure Stack, co-engineered hyperconverged solutions offered through OEMs such as Dell EMC, HPE, Cisco, Lenovo and others. Earlier this year, Google Cloud upped the ante with the launch of Anthos, a hybrid version of its cloud service with support for multicloud management and support. Amazon Web Services has its own offerings with VMware and its forthcoming AWS Outpost offering.

“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 premises,” said industry analyst Bob O’Donnell of Technalysis Research. “It’s another example of how

the whole industry focus is pulling back from public cloud only into more of a hybrid environment.”

About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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