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Azure ARC - Avail the all-encompassing Azure Services and Management across hybrid and multi cloud environments

Posted by Rajiv Dattani on 5/4/21 1:08 PM

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Azure ARC which was announced in the year 2019 is a strategic invention that enables Microsoft to spread its roots to the enterprise data centre and public clouds. This is because, currently, only Azure ARC manages both the modern infrastructure of Kubernetes and the legacy infrastructure of physical servers.

This guide will explore more about Azure ARC. Read on to know everything about Azure ARC.

Overview of Azure ARC

With Azure ARC, you get a full package, including quick app development, hassle-free management, and unhindered Azure services. It is possible to standardize visibility, compliance, and operations in multiple locations and resources with the control plane of Azure.

This means you can create scalable cloud-native applications anywhere and even ship your apps to Kubernetes. You can receive cloud benefits with Azure ARC by using data services of Azure on a particular infrastructure.

Use Azure Services Anywhere

It is possible to deploy Azure services anywhere. Let’s explore how -

Enhanced Visibility

Azure ARC enables you to centrally organize and manage your resources, such as Linux, Windows, SQL services, Azure services, and Kubernetes clusters. It is feasible to allow multi-environment search with the help of Azure Resource Graph and enable central visibility inside the Azure portal.

Even compliance and security are simpler with Azure ARC. You can easily meet the compliance and governance requirements of your apps and infrastructure with Azure Policy. To control security policies and access, you can employ RBAC (Role-based Access Control) along with Azure Lighthouse.

Cloud-Native Apps Anywhere

Now more than ever, businesses are able to utilize Kubernetes containers to create modern apps across the on-prem, edge, and the cloud. After the release of Azure ARC Kubernetes, it is now possible to manage and control the Kubernetes cluster anywhere.

Just by using the Azure portal, users can deploy configurations (the common set) to Kubernetes clusters from anywhere at scale. Even the errors can be eliminated or decreased with consistent deployment.

With Azure ARC, developers also have the choice to centrally code and then deploy their cloud-native apps to the Kubernetes cluster in a secure manner with the help of GitOps.

Azure Anywhere

Azure ARC truly empowers users to utilize cloud innovation benefits and features. For instance, advanced data capabilities, dynamic scaling options for infrastructure, and rapid deployment (in seconds instead of a few hours). As a customer of Azure ARC, you now have the power to deploy Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale and Azure SQL Database anywhere on the Kubernetes cluster.

The Azure portal further offers a consistent and unified view of every Azure data service that is running on the cloud or on-prem. In fact, you can employ consistent policy, governance, and security across every environment with ease.

That’s not it - when you need to increase on-prem capacity, you can scale seamlessly whenever you need more Kubernetes clusters in AKS (Azure Kubernetes Service).

With Azure ARC, the downtime is also minimized and availability is maximized with the help of automatic patching and updates.

Azure Compliance & Security With Azure ARC

Azure ARC helps you with security and compliance. Every year, Microsoft invests around USD 1 billion in cybersecurity. They have more than 3,500 experts who dedicate their time and experience to data security and management.

What do you get?

Customers can benefit from the multi-layered architecture of security across physical data centres and infrastructure. This is to say that you can enjoy advanced security in Azure data centres. The cloud is created with customized hardware that has security ingrained in the firmware and hardware components, which offer added protection against risks such as DDoS.   

Azure ARC Servers 

Azure ARC servers empower users to control Linux and Windows machines, that are not on Azure, on another cloud, or a corporate network. You can manage these machines similar to the way you manage your native Azure machines.

When customers connect an external server to their Azure, this machine gets connected and becomes a resource in Azure. Every machine that you connect to Azure is assigned a resource ID, which is in the resource groups. These machines can use Azure constructs like applying tags or Azure Policy.

The process used to register a machine in Azure ARC requires you to run an agent that can manage the connection of the machine with the ARC control plane. This agent will send heartbeat signals to the Azure server every five minutes.

Kubernetes by Azure ARC

With Azure ARC-enabled Kubernetes, customers can configure and attach Kubernetes clusters outside and inside of Azure. When you connect a Kubernetes cluster to your Azure ARC, it will start showing in the Azure portal. With this service, you can extend management capabilities through Azure policy, Azure Monitor, etc. These external clusters can use features utilized in internal Azure clusters.

However, it is necessary to keep in mind that the maintenance of these external Kubernetes clusters is achieved by the customer.

You can use Azure ARC-enabled Kubernetes services with any given Cloud Native Computing Foundation distribution. To ensure feasibility, Microsoft has even verified ARC with various known Kubernetes distributions, such as Rancher RKE 1.0.8, RedHat OpenShift 4.3, AKS Engine Running on Azure Stack Hub, and Canonical Charmed Kubernetes 1.18.

SQL Server by Azure ARC

Azure ARC data services also provide various managed data services like PostgreSQL Hyperscale and SQL managed instances for multi-cloud and hybrid environments on Kubernetes clusters. As these services are managed, regular patches, updates, and new features are released by Microsoft.

This means that your on-prem databases are always up-to-date while customers still have control. Additionally, since these are subscription-based services by Azure ARC-enabled data services, you may not come across end-of-support issues.

It is amazing that any Kubernetes cluster that is using Azure Data Services doesn’t need to register on the Azure ARC control plane. These Azure ARC-enabled data services can be used by any Kubernetes cluster.

Conclusion

The need for a single management system that can handle a multi-cloud environment is increasing. Hence, Azure ARC is gaining popularity. Once you are on Azure ARC, Microsoft helps you use hybrid cloud, whether you have a modern version of oracle or an old one.

The reason Azure ARC is gaining popularity is that it simplifies a complex environment across multi-cloud, on-prem, and the edge. If you are trying to balance container-based and traditional VM workloads, then Azure ARC is for you.

Topics: Microsoft Azure, Azure ARC

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