Introduction to Azure Arc
In 2019, Microsoft announced Azure Arc, which is a new Azure hybrid cloud utility. It was built on Azure concepts and is a management tool for resources from the Azure portal. It aimed at simplifying complex environments. With Azure Arc, one can deploy the Azure services wherever it is needed. With a unique approach and design, Azure Arc stands out from the crowd.
Before we understand how it's helpful for businesses and their customers, let us first know its architecture.
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Azure Arc Architecture
Azure Arc is simply an extension of the Azure Control Plane. Let's look at the basic architecture of Azure.
- Azure manages the lifecycle of various resources such as virtual machines, Hadoop clusters, and Kubernetes clusters. The control plane of Azure is called the Azure Fabric Controller. Almost every resource in Azure reports its operations to the control plane.
- Next, the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) lies in between the fabric controller and the resources. It is responsible for automating the life cycle.
- There are different resource providers for each service. For example, some of them are SQL Database, Azure Kubernetes Service, and VMs.
Features of Azure Arc
Azure Arc has three primary characteristics:
1. You can extend Azure's both security and management to other infrastructures.
Customers use Azure management to organize, govern and secure their resources regularly. Azure Arc makes it possible to boost these features to other on-premise and multi-cloud infrastructure. Other helpful features include Microsoft Azure Cloud Shell, Azure Resource Manager, Azure portal, and Microsoft Azure policy. Additionally, Azure Arc helps in applying cloud security in different environments.
2. Portable Azure services
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One of the main benefits of Azure Arc is cloud innovation. It offers customers the opportunity to deploy Azure data services where they have a need. Customers can also implement any different Kubernetes clusters in Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) if there is a requirement.
3. Azure Stack Edge
Azure Stack Edge is an AI-enabled appliance. It brings capabilities like computing and intelligence to an edge. Some of the new capabilities offered to customers include Virtual Machine Support, multiple nodes, which are highly available, and multi-access edge compute (MEC).
Azure Arc with servers
Customers use Azure Arc with servers to connect Linux and Windows machines as resources with the Azure control plane. It allows deploying PowerShell-based policies to connected servers. Customers can take advantage of easy management and state configuration.
Another critical point is that the managed servers need not be physical. It makes it easy to preload the agent into the VM base image before they get deployed. Azure Arc generates a custom script that runs on unconnected servers. It downloads and installs the agent before adding the server as a resource.
Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes
You can manage Kubernetes applications in Azure Arc.
The advantage of using a policy-based approach to manage Kubernetes applications is that you can lock down clusters if they do not obey. Until there is a report that a cluster is obeying all the policies, the developers cannot deploy it. With the Azure Arc agent’s deployment to all the Kubernetes groups, one can easily manage all the procedures and deployments. With a new deployment of a cluster, policies are applied automatically.
Why is Azure Arc important to businesses?
Azure Arc has come up with many surprises since its announcement. It has become essential to both businesses and their customers.
But, how does Azure Arc help customers? And how does it help businesses?
Let's find out.
Customers can use the same control plane in Azure Arc to manage resources deployed both within and outside Azure. With the help of a single button, customers can also easily encrypt their file systems across all VMs. Also, automation features are available with the ARM templates and Azure API.
When it comes to enterprises, they can take advantage of the Azure Security Center. They can hold command and manage their resources, which are registered with Azure Arc no matter where they are deployed. Additionally, businesses can automatically make and apply policies to all resources.
Microsoft is changing the game with Azure Arc. With its help, simplifying application modernization and digital transformation make it's future brighter.
What makes Azure Arc convincing is its balance between traditional VM-based workloads and modern container-based ones.
The other cloud offerings in Azure are Azure Stack Hub, Azure Stack HCI, and Azure Stack Edge.