Update: The preview is now available to all customers without needing to sign up.
Customers around the world take advantage of Microsoft Azure to build, deploy, and manage business-critical applications at scale. At the same time, the reality for many of our customers is that they are navigating distributed hybrid and multi-cloud environments. They tell us that a key challenge with hybrid and multicloud adoption is managing and securing their IT environments while building and running cloud-native applications.
To enable the flexibility and agility customers are seeking, to build systems and innovate anywhere with existing investments, we created Azure Arc – a set of technologies that extends Azure management and services to any infrastructure. With Azure Arc, customers can secure and manage servers (physical or virtual) and Kubernetes clusters, as well as build cloud-native applications with Azure application services and Azure data services on your existing infrastructure in your datacenters, at the edge or in multicloud environments.
We know customers have existing investments in VMware-based infrastructure on-premises along with their Azure deployments, and we want to make sure those workloads don’t miss out from the innovation that is happening in Azure. Since we announced Azure Arc, customers have been using Azure technologies on VMware vSphere, and we continue to innovate here to enhance their experience.
Empowering VMware end users and developers while maintaining visibility and control
Traditionally, getting access to compute resources in on-premises environments hasn’t been easy for developers or workload owners. At the same time, administrators have the unenviable task of helping their organizations be agile while protecting and securing their organization’s IT environment. With Azure Arc, management of a distributed VMware vSphere environment is simplified:
Secure and Operate
IT administrators can easily enable developers and end users to secure, manage and govern Windows, Linux, SQL Servers, and Kubernetes clusters with Azure management services while ensuring collaboration and the right distribution of responsibilities through Azure RBAC and Azure services like Azure Monitor and Azure Defender. To learn more on how to onboard existing VMware vSphere VMs and Kubernetes clusters to Azure Arc, explore Azure Arc-enabled servers and Azure Arc-enabled Kubernetes.
Customers can also save time building hybrid applications using the portable application and data services enabled by Azure Arc. To learn more, explore Azure Arc Jumpstart for data services and application services.
Deeper integration with VMware vSphere
Today, we are announcing Azure Arc-enabled VMware vSphere, in preview. Azure Arc-enabled VMware vSphere is a new capability in Azure Arc for customers with VMware vSphere environments either on-premises or on Azure VMware Solution. With this integration, developers and end users will have self-service access to vSphere resources through Azure Arc. They will be able to deploy VMs on VMware vSphere using ARM templates, ensuring that they can describe Infrastructure as Code consistently across Azure and on-premises environments. With ARM templates, DevOps teams can use CI/CD pipelines to provision or update the VMs along with the application updates. They are also able to perform virtual hardware operations such as stopping, starting, restarting VMs, resizing the VM, adding or updating disks, and managing NICs all directly from Azure.
For administrators managing vSphere environments, this means they can easily enable developers to gain self-service access to compute resources while governing and ensuring compliance through rich Azure governance controls and Azure RBAC. For administrators that manage distributed vSphere environments, Azure Arc can provide consolidated inventory of VMs running across all of them; side- by-side with Azure VMs.
With the new integration, administrators can also onboard large-scale vSphere environments to Azure management services such as Azure Monitor Log Analytics and Azure Policy Guest Configuration. This can be done by enabling guest management on many VMs at once. Enabling guest management on a VM orchestrates the install of the Connected Machine agent, directly from Azure. Additionally, with the automatic discovery capabilities of the integration, changes made directly through vCenter are synced with Azure.
How does this work?
The integration of Azure Arc with VMware vSphere requires administrators to deploy a virtual appliance called an Arc resource bridge. The Arc resource bridge provides the connection between your VMware vCenter server and Azure. It hosts the agents necessary for Azure Arc to communicate with your vCenter server.
Administrators can onboard some or all vSphere resources (resource pools, clusters, hosts, datastores, networks, templates and existing VMs) managed by their vCenter server to Azure. From there, they can assign granular permissions on the compute, storage, networking, and template resources to Application development teams. Once onboarded, vSphere resources can be worked with through Azure.
Once above steps are done, developers and application teams can provision new VMs using vSphere resources or perform other operations on the existing VMs.
We can’t wait for you to try out the existing and new capabilities for Azure Arc on VMware. For more details on how you can try the preview, read the docs.