Understanding Azure Arc

Microsoft’s new hybrid cloud management tools bring Azure features to your servers, wherever they are

Understanding Azure Arc

One of the more interesting announcements at Microsoft’s 2019 Ignite conference was Azure Arc, a new management tool for hybrid cloud application infrastructures. Building on Azure concepts, Arc is designed to allow you to manage on-premises resources from the Azure Portal, deploying policies and services to virtual machines and Kubernetes. It also includes containerized versions of Azure’s SQL Database and PostgreSQL Hyperscale to give your Kubernetes-based hybrid applications Azure-consistent data options.

Azure Arc extends the Azure Resource Manager model down to servers and Kubernetes clusters. It’s designed to manage resources in a cloudlike manner wherever they are, treating Azure’s resource tooling as your control plane. That puts it at a much higher level than most management tools. For example, if you’re using it with virtual machines running on a Windows Server network, you’d manage the VMs with Hyper-V management tools, and the server configuration and applications running on them with Azure Arc.

Using Azure Arc with servers

“Wherever they are” is a key principle behind Azure Arc. With its application management focus, it is infrastructure agnostic. Those VMs it manages can be running in your data center, in a hosting facility, or as virtual servers in a managed, shared environment.

Server management with Azure Arc is now in public preview, with a connected machine agent for Windows and for Linux to handle connection to the Azure Arc service. Once connected to the cloud, you can start managing it as if it were an Azure resource, part of a resource group. This allows you to deploy PowerShell-based policies to connected servers, taking advantage of the work that’s been done to deliver just-in-time management and desired state configuration. Managed servers will need connectivity to Azure Arc, over SSL.

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