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With the exponential growth in data, organizations find themselves in increasingly heterogenous data estates, full of data sprawl and silos, spreading across on-premises data centers, the edge, and multiple public clouds. It has been a balancing act for organizations trying to bring about innovation faster while maintaining consistent security and governance. The lack of a unified view of all their data assets across their environments poses extra complexity for best practices in data management.

As Satya announced in his vision keynote at Microsoft Ignite, we are redefining hybrid by bringing innovation anywhere with Azure. We are introducing Azure Arc, which brings Azure services and management to any infrastructure. This enables Azure data services to run on any infrastructure using Kubernetes. Azure SQL Database and Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale are both available in preview on Azure Arc, and we will bring more data services to Azure Arc over time.

For customers who need to maintain data workloads in on-premises datacenters due to regulations, data sovereignty, latency, and so on, Azure Arc can bring the latest Azure innovation, cloud benefits like elastic scale and automation, unified management, and unmatched security on-premises. 

Always current

A top pain point we continue to hear from customers is the amount of work involved in patching and updating their on-premises databases. It requires constant diligence from corporate IT to ensure all databases are updated in a timely fashion. A fully managed database service, such as Azure SQL Database, removes the burden of patching and upgrades for customers who have migrated their databases to Azure.

Azure Arc helps to fully automate the patching and update process for databases running on-premises. Updates from the Microsoft Container Registry are automatically delivered to customers, and deployment cadences are set by customers in accordance with their policies. This way, on-premises databases can stay up to date while ensuring customers maintain control.

Azure Arc also enables on-premises customers to access the latest innovations such as the evergreen SQL through Azure SQL Database, which means customers will no longer face end-of-support for their databases. Moreover, a unique hyper-scale deployment option of Azure Database for PostgreSQL is made available on Azure Arc. This capability gives on-premises data workloads an additional boost on capacity optimization, using unique scale-out across reads and writes without application downtime.

Elastic scale

Cloud elasticity on-premises is another unique capability Azure Arc offers customers. The capability enables customers to scale their databases up or down dynamically in the same way as they do in Azure, based on the available capacity of their infrastructure. This can satisfy burst scenarios that have volatile needs, including scenarios that require ingesting and querying data in real-time, at any scale, with sub-second response time. In addition, customers can also scale-out database instances by setting up read replicas across multiple data centers or from their own data center into any public cloud.

Azure Arc also brings other cloud benefits such as fast deployment and automation at scale. Thanks to Kubernetes-based execution, customers can deploy a database in seconds, setting up high availability, backup, point-in-time-restore with a few clicks. Compare this to the time and resource-consuming manual work that is currently required to do the same on-premises, these new capabilities will greatly improve productivity of database administration and enable faster continuous integration and continuous delivery, so the IT team can be more agile to unlock business innovation.

Unified management

Using familiar tools such as the Azure portal, Azure Data Studio, and the Azure CLI, customers can now gain a unified view of all their data assets deployed with Azure Arc. Customers are able to not only view and manage a variety of relational databases across their environment and Azure, but also get logs and telemetry from Kubernetes APIs to analyze the underlying infrastructure capacity and health. Besides having localized log analytics and performance monitoring, customers can now leverage Azure Monitor on-premises for comprehensive operational insights across their entire estate. Moreover, Azure Backup can be easily connected to provide long-term, off-site backup retention and disaster recovery. Best of all, customers can now use cloud billing models for their on-premises data workloads to manage their costs efficiently.

See a full suite of management capabilities provided by Azure Arc (Azure Arc data controller) from the below diagram.

Diagram of full suite management capabilities provided by Azure Arc

Unmatched security

Security is a top priority for corporate IT. Yet it has been challenging to keep up the security posture and maintain consistent governance on data workloads across different customer teams, functions, and infrastructure environments. With Azure Arc, for the first time, customers can access Azure’s unique security capabilities from the Azure Security Center for their on-premises data workloads. They can protect databases with features like advanced threat protection and vulnerability assessment, in the same way as they do in Azure.

Azure Arc also extends governance controls from Azure so that customers can use capabilities such as Azure Policy and Azure role-based access control across hybrid infrastructure. This consistency and well-defined boundaries at scale can bring peace of mind to IT regardless of where the data is.

Learn more about the unique benefits with Azure Arc for data workloads.

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