A Closer Look At Azure Arc As Microsoft Opens Up First Two Features

Microsoft announced Azure Arc, the hybrid and multi-cloud platform that allows managing cloud resources anywhere, at the Ignite conference in September 2019. It was exciting news, as the company promised it would make it easier to deploy and manage Azure service across multiple clouds - including competing clouds like AWS and GCP - and on-premises IT environments.

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Months later, at its Build developer conference in May, Microsoft has revealed that it is now opening up Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes for public preview. With this, businesses can use Azure Arc to connect and configure any Kubernetes cluster over diverse infrastructure and many application scenarios and deployment environments in the Kubernetes ecosystem.

The latest preview launch also saw Microsoft announce that Arc supports SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and the SUSE CaaS Platform. SUSE President of Engineering and Innovation Thomas Di Giacomo says platforms such as Azure Arc are starting to gain traction as organizations embrace modern platforms. "Azure Arc for servers gives customers a central management control plane with security and governance capabilities for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server systems hosted outside of the Azure cloud, such as edge deployments," said Di Giacomo.

In April, during the Red Hat Summit 2020 online event, Microsoft and the IBM subsidiary announced the extension of their integration of Azure and OpenShift to include support for Azure Arc for OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

"We keep hearing from our customers that they want to use a single pane of glass to take advantage of this cloud era scaled economy," said Microsoft's cloud and AI group's executive VP, Scott Guthrie. "With our Azure Arc capability, we now enable our customers to manage OpenShift clusters and RHEL servers running anywhere using our Azure Resource Manager."

Once Arc becomes generally available, users will be able to control it to view inventory and search from within Azure to apply policies and manage compliance for connected servers and clusters. This is all while making use of Azure's built-in security policies and role-based access control.

Microsoft is not the only IT vendor looking at the rise of hybrid cloud computing as an opening for extensive growth. Cloud rivals such as Amazon Web Services and Google have already launched hybrid cloud computing initiatives, while Dell Technologies is looking to extend the reach of its management planes into the cloud.