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Microsoft unveils new Azure Arc hybrid and multicloud capabilities

Across industries, companies are investing in hybrid and multicloud technologies to ensure they have the flexibility to innovate anywhere and meet evolving business needs, acording to Microsoft. 

"Customers tell us a key challenge with hybrid and multicloud adoption is managing and securing their IT environments while building and running cloud-native applications," says Arpan Shah general manager, Microsoft Azure.

"To enable the flexibility and agility customers are seeking to innovate anywhere while providing governance and security, we created Azure Arc—a set of technologies that extends Azure management and services to any infrastructure," he explains. 

Microsoft has announced new Azure Arc innovation that unlocks more scenarios, including:

Run machine learning anywhere with Azure Arc
Azure Arc enables customers to run Azure services in any Kubernetes environment, whether it’s on-premises, multicloud, or at the edge. The first set of services enabled to run in any Kubernetes environment was Azure data services. 

"We continue to enhance Azure Arc enabled data services based on feedback from customers such as KPMG, Ford, Ferguson, and SKF," says Shah.

"We’re excited to expand Azure Arc enabled services to include Azure Machine Learning. Azure Machine Learning is an enterprise-grade service that enables data scientists and developers to build, deploy, and manage machine learning models.," he explains.

"By using Azure Arc to extend machine learning (ML) capabilities to hybrid and multicloud environments, customers can train ML models directly where the data lives using their existing infrastructure investments. This reduces data movement while meeting security and compliance requirements."

Customers can sign up for Azure Arc enabled Machine Learning and deploy to any Kubernetes cluster. In one click, data scientists can now use familiar tools to build machine learning models consistently and reliably and deploy anywhere.

Build cloud-native applications anywhere, at scale with Azure Arc
"More than ever, organisations are building modern applications using Kubernetes containers across cloud, on-premises, and the edge," says Shah.

"Last fall, we released Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes in preview to help manage and govern Kubernetes clusters anywhere. Right from the Azure portal, customers can deploy a common set of Kubernetes configurations to their clusters wherever they are, consistently and at scale. 

"Azure Arc also enables developers to centrally code and deploy cloud-native applications securely to any Kubernetes cluster using GitOps. Today, we are announcing Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes is now generally available," he says.

Use any Kubernetes conformant with CNCF
"We are committed to providing customers with choices and supporting their existing Kubernetes investments," Shah says.

"Azure Arc is built to work with any cloud native computing foundation (CNCF) conformant Kubernetes distribution. To give customers more confidence, we’ve collaborated with popular Kubernetes distributions including VMware Tanzu and Nutanix Karbon, which join Red Hat OpenShift, Canonical’s Charmed Kubernetes, and Rancher Kubernetes Engine (RKE) to test and validate their implementations with Azure Arc. We look forward to validating more partners in the future," he says.

Modernize your datacenter with Azure Stack HCI and Azure Arc
Shah says hyperconverged infrastructure has been an ideal way for organisations to modernise datacentres and deploy key workloads for remote offices and branch offices (ROBO). 

"Azure Stack HCI provides a performant and cost-effective hyperconverged infrastructure solution that can be managed right from Azure," he says. 

"Customers can run Azure services and cloud-native applications on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI. Azure Stack HCI works with multiple systems co-engineered for simplicity and reliability from partners such as Dell, Lenovo, HPE, Fujitsu, and DataON."