Azure Arc: Managing hybrid cloud deployment

Microsoft’s new management tool brings Azure management to any hybrid cloud.

Microsoft Ignite 2019 in review: Azure Arc, HoloLens 2, Edge, Quantum, and Teams
With roughly 26,000 people in attendance at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando, the company has announced dozens of new features, products, and updates.

How do you get the benefits of the cloud in your own data centre? Microsoft has been pondering this question for some time, coming up with a range of different solutions. At one end of the scale is the ‘Azure-consistent’ hardware portfolio, which starts with the rack-based Azure Stack Hub and scales down to IoT and edge compute-focused Azure Stack Edge hardware. But they all need you to invest in new, specialised hardware. What do you do when you want to use your own existing infrastructure?

SEE: Special report: The cloud v. data center decision (free PDF) (TechRepublic Premium)

That’s where its recent announcement of Azure Arc comes in, the launch of an application-level control plane for your modern cloud applications. Managed from the Azure Portal, Arc uses familiar Azure concepts and tools to deliver applications and management policies to virtual machines and Kubernetes running on your servers or on other public clouds.

What Azure Arc is, and what it isn’t

It’s a little hard to understand what Azure Arc is — the initial blog posts and the holding page on Microsoft’s website are more much more marketing material than technical information. However, we were able to talk to some of the team behind it at Microsoft’s recent Ignite event, and now have a good picture of what it is — and, perhaps more importantly, what it isn’t.

Azure Arc isn’t another way of delivering a cloud-like operating platform to your data centre. It doesn’t install Kubernetes and it doesn’t manage your virtual infrastructure for you. Above all, you certainly shouldn’t expect Microsoft to use…