If you’ve not already heard, Azure Arc is being hailed by Microsoft as the "next big step forward in hybrid computing". Imagine the ability to deploy Azure services to run in environments built by other cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud, and manage them from Azure?
Let’s take a closer look and see what this really means for resellers and the future of how the channel sells Cloud management services.
Can we have them all?
As you may already know, a Multi-Cloud approach often works well for the customer. In the beginning, some were uncertain about cloud reliability and multi-cloud was, and still is, a good way to prevent data loss or downtime due to a local component failure.
While redundancy and vendor lock-in concerns still drive some multi-cloud deployments today, price-competitive cloud services, along with speed and capacity are now a main consideration. We’ve also seen customers demand multi-cloud strategies for data sovereignty reasons, where enterprise data has to physically reside in certain locations.
According to research from EMA, 61% of enterprise customers reported using two or more cloud providers, with 35% using four and above. So, giving our customers the choice and flexibility is important, but it often becomes a headache when they want to us to manage them. In reality you build complexity and repetition into every project, as you have to repeat the same steps for each cloud service – until now.
Microsoft tell us that, from the Azure portal, “Customers get a unified and consistent view of all their Azure data services running across on-premises and clouds and can apply consistent policy, security and governance of data across environments. They can also create additional scale by setting up Kubernetes clusters in the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), if they run out of capacity on-premise”
In short, resellers can now deliver multi-cloud and hybrid in a fraction of the time it took before.
The future, today
Arc is now in Preview and can be used for free, for a limited time. It’s fair to say that we are at an early stage in development and the solution isn’t without its limitations. For example, Arc runs an agent to manage workloads, through the Azure portal or a script, but it isn’t doing this on the host environment. Deploy applications, manage patches and updates to your hearts content, but forget it if you want to create, delete or resize a VM, for example.
That said, the intention from Microsoft is becoming clearer with every release. The vendor obviously recognises that multi-cloud strategies are here to stay doesn’t care which cloud you choose to hold your data on, so long as it’s managed by Microsoft. At what point does the Cloud become a commodity (are we there already) as Cloud Management drives increased revenue and margin?
As always, we’d love to hear from you! Message me to book a service review meeting and let us help you define your multi-cloud strategy, using Azure Arc. Alternatively, call the team on 020 8329 1000 for more information