Microsoft's New Azure Arc Services Can Run on ‘Any Infrastructure'

The company wants customers to use Azure to manage all their on-prem and cloud environments.

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

November 4, 2019

1 Min Read
Microsoft logo on building.

Microsoft is enabling a swath of its Azure services to run on its competitors’ cloud infrastructure and broadening the amount of Azure services that can run in customers’ own data centers.

Azure Arc, which the company announced Monday at its Ignite conference in Orlando, would give customers the ability to use a single set of management and security tools, as well as Azure data services, across a variety of computing-infrastructure types.

The company said Azure Arc services, now in the preview phase, would run on Linux servers, Windows servers, or Kubernetes clusters “on any infrastructure across on-premises, multi-cloud and edge,” Azure corporate VP Julia White wrote in a blog post.

Google Cloud made an announcement along similar lines in April, when it rolled out Anthos, a platform that enables users to run applications across multiple clouds and on-premises environments.

More than a product announcement, Arc is a shift in hybrid cloud strategy for Azure. After Hybrid 1.0, where Microsoft offered customers a way to run some Azure services in their own data centers with a solution called Azure Stack, comes Hybrid 2.0, where Azure services are becoming increasingly agnostic of the infrastructure they run on, be it on premises or in the cloud, on Microsoft Azure or on someone else’s cloud platform.

The play isn’t only to broaden market reach by supporting other clouds but also to get customers to use Azure to manage all their infrastructure, regardless of the provider.

The first two services Arc will support will be Kubernetes and Azure SQL Analytics, Azure CTO Mark Russinovich told ZDnet.

Management tools Microsoft said it would offer as part of Arc include Azure Resource Manager, Azure Cloud Shell, Azure portal, API, and Azure Policy.

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