Azure Arc: a pivotal moment for Microsoft?


Posted by Alex Phillips 12 months ago

Long before Satya Nadella announced the launch of Azure Arc earlier this month, there were rumours of a major revamp of Microsoft’s hybrid strategy.

Those in the know were expecting new hybrid cloud products and services. But not many could have predicted Azure Arc. Its unique approach and design has thrown a curve ball among the slew of hybrid cloud products and services all vying for attention.

Microsoft has long made hybrid technologies part of its Azure platform. Customers have been able to run cloud technologies on their own servers as well as the public cloud. But faced with mounting pressure from Google and Amazon, Microsoft decided to push its capabilities further.

According to Microsoft, Azure Arc will extend the company’s hybrid cloud management technologies to Linux and Windows servers and Kubernetes clusters running on any infrastructure. This means customers can deploy, manage and secure apps, as well as running data services across in-house servers, multiple cloud platforms and edge computing scenarios, with connected devices in remote locations.

At Ignite 2019, Nadella said that Azure Arc “marks the beginning of this new era of hybrid computing, where there is a control plane built for multi-cloud, multi-edge.” 

So what really sets it apart? With Azure Arc, Microsoft is enabling businesses with legacy infrastructure to get involved with the hybrid cloud. This means customers running legacy hardware and VMs are not alienated. If anything, VMs are treated like VIPs in the world of Azure Arc.

Plus, with AKS and Kubernetes, users can run greenfield applications packaged and deployed as containers. Azure Arc will also act as the overarching management layer for the new Azure Stack hybrid cloud offerings (Hub, HCI and Edge).

This blend of hardware and software makes Microsoft’s hybrid strategy looks as compelling as it is convincing. From where we’re standing, Azure Arc is looking like a real game changer for Microsoft.

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