Azure Arc Helps IT Service Providers Manage Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Market Continues to Show Signs of Expansion for End Users

The hybrid cloud market has increasingly grown during the past several years compared to that of other cloud services, mostly because it offers certain benefits that benefits organizations with a vast set of data and need of processing demand.

Using a hybrid cloud allows large and small enterprises to scale computing resources and helps in eliminating the need to invest significant capital for processing shorter-term projects. It also helps to free up resources for sensitive data and applications where needed.

IT service providers are continuously realizing the significant opportunity in helping their end-user clients migrate to hybrid cloud environments. This is because organizations using cloud services are required to pay only for resources that they temporarily use rather than fully purchasing, programming, and maintaining additional resources and equipment that remains idle over long periods of time. This approach helps to control costs more stringently.

In order to help IT service providers set up and manage hybrid cloud environments, Microsoft recently unveiled Azure Arc – a virtual management tool for hybrid clouds.

Azure Arc delivers significant capabilities to help service providers ease migration to the cloud. Azure Arc brings support for the Azure Resource Manager, which ties together compute resources running inside Azure with those operating outside Microsoft’s cloud – this includes on-prem data centers or other cloud environments. Once registered with the Resource Manager, any server outside the firewall becomes another resource for the hybrid environment – all managed by Azure Arc. This includes virtual machines, whether running on-prem on something like VMware vSphere, or in Amazon Web Services or the Google Cloud Platform.

Azure Arc is also designed to operate managed database services in hybrid and multi-cloud environments, with support for Azure SQL Database and PostgreSQL Hyperscale.

It is designed to ease the burden of pressure on IT departments and the service provider since it allows them to run and deploy applications, services and systems wherever they need while also managing from a single control plane. Azure Arc also allows service providers to harness legacy applications with cloud native apps using containers, microservices, etc.

Service providers will quickly realize that an effective way to manage these hybrid cloud platforms is by keeping the infrastructure and application control planes separate. Utilizing ARM templates apply similar policies to both on-prem and in-cloud instances for the same applications, ensuring similar settings. Arc’s agent monitors for compliance and can remediate changed settings, and since everything is visible through the Azure Portal, service providers can see which servers are non-compliant.

Service providers and IT staff also gain access to a command-line tool that can be used to configure and debug Azure connections. This can be used with PowerShell to connect servers. Because of this, Azure Arc’s management is processed utilizing PowerShell instead of group policies, with PowerShell’s Desired State Configuration management tooling applying policies and ensuring that managed servers and VMs don’t drift out of compliance.

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