Migration scenarios are a staple for many customers looking to start their digital transformation journey. The journey starts by assessing the current IT estate and determining from there, the best course of action for each workload within the IT estate. The most common migration paths today include migration to Azure VMs also known as 'Lift and shift', a phased migration where 'Lift and shift' occurs first followed by a refactoring of the workload to take advantage of Azure native toolset, and moving specialized workloads such as VDI, SAP, MS-SQL and VMware into their respective Azure native offerings such as WVD, Azure SQL MI, Azure VMware Solution (AVS) and Azure SAP offerings.
Here we will discuss additional migration paths that Azure Arc lights up for customers that are looking for a hybrid and/or a multi-cloud strategy. There are 4 distinct migration scenarios that we'll talk about:
Unified Operations and Management - All customers with hybrid requirements
Cloud Native apps with persistent storage where - Customers who want to build cloud-native apps
Data modernization - Customers who want to modernize their data estate on their existing hardware
Modernize datacenter - Customers who want to modernize their on-premises infrastructure
Unified Operations and Management
Having a unified approach to operations and management is critical for all customers looking for a hybrid strategy for managing workloads. Hundreds of millions of Azure resources are organized, governed, and secured daily by customers using Azure Resource Manager. Azure Arc introduces the possibility of extending Azure Resource Manager (ARM) to customer environment such as Windows and Linux Servers, Kubernetes clusters and Azure data services at scale across on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge. As customers environments sprawl spreads the need for providing consistent management and security across all distributed locations increases as well. Without coherence across these environments, cost and complexity grow exponentially.
This is where a unified operations and management solution comes in which can provide that single pane of glass for operations teams and application teams. In context of customers working within regulated industries compliance (HIPAA, FISMA, SOC, GDPR, PCI and CIS) dashboards are critical and with Azure Arc such a dashboard is possible which will encompasses Azure resources as well as resources outside of Azure that are Arc enabled such as servers, Kubernetes and data services. A technical demo to better illustrate this functionality is linked here.
Cloud Native apps with persistent storage
Many migrations into Azure start out with a lift and shift of infrastructure preceded by an effort to refactor the migrated workload to take advantage of Azure native PaaS technologies such as Azure Policies, Azure SQL Manage Instances, Azure RBAC among others. The out-of-scope workloads of Azure migration effort are left as is in part because cloud native technologies are not readily available on existing on-premises infrastructure.
With Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes and Arc enabled data services that functionality is brought down to on-premises infrastructure so now those workloads left behind can be refactored with cloud-native technologies. Azure Arc enabled Kubernetes not only enabled cluster configuration management across desperate environments but allows application management capability as well. With Azure Arc enabled data services, those on-premises refactored applications can now use Azure SQL Managed Instance and/or Azure Database for PostgreSQL Hyperscale as their persistent data stores.
Data modernization has gained momentum in recent years in part because having organized data running on scalable infrastructure is a prerequisite for AI technologies to be leveraged for business efficiency. All data modernizations scenarios in context of an Azure migration thus far included moving the workload onto any number of Azure PaaS offerings such as Azure SQL Managed Instance, Azure Database for PostgreSQL among others.
Customers can now take advantage of the latest Azure managed database innovation, such as staying always current with evergreen SQL, elastic scale, and a unified data management experience, regardless of whether it’s running in Azure, running in their datacenter, or running in a different public cloud. And these data services work in both connected and disconnected modes. Customers are seeing wide-ranging benefits in improving their IT productivity and business agility with Azure Arc enabled data services. This new path that Azure Arc unlocks is critical for customers in regulated industries that requires part of their data estate to remain on-premise to meet certain regulatory requirements.
Over three years ago, we were first to market with Azure Stack that enables customers to bring cloud innovation into their own datacenters to take advantage of cloud technology while meeting any regulatory compliance requirement and the ability to run disconnected. Since then, we’ve continued to grow the Azure Stack portfolio to provide cloud consistent infrastructure and Azure services to a range of solutions within local datacenters and running at the edge.
Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) on Azure Stack HCI enables customers to deploy and manage containerized apps at scale on Azure Stack HCI, just as they can run AKS within Azure. This provides a consistent, secure, and fully managed Kubernetes experience for customers who want to use Azure Stack HCI within their datacenters. By Azure Arc enabling an AKS on Azure Stack HCI cluster, Arc enabled data services as well as the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) toolset can be brought to existing data center investments.
To get started on scenarios related to all of four of migration paths visit the Azure Arc Jumpstart project. There you will find step-by-step guides for independent Azure Arc scenarios that incorporate as much automation as possible, detailed screenshots and code samples, and a rich and comprehensive experience while getting started with the Azure Arc platform.