Microsoft Azure Expands Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Reach – TechCrunch
Microsoft Azure, like its competitors, has launched a number of tools in recent years that allow businesses to use a single platform to manage their virtual machines and containers in clouds and in their own data centers. For Microsoft, the main tool for managing these is Azure Arc. Given that the event is focused on IT pros, it’s no surprise that the company is now using its Ignite conference to highlight a number of new features from Arc and its global hybrid lineup. / multi-cloud.
“Customers just have thousands and thousands of applications, databases, servers that they run in different places,” Roanne Sones, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Azure Edge and Platform, told me. “Regulations are constantly evolving and developing. Security attacks are getting more and more sophisticated – and their ability to deal with that consistently, given the scale of their environment, is really difficult. They are therefore quite overwhelmed. At the same time, they’re looking at the cloud and they want to hang on to this innovation wagon and it’s hard for them because there will just be workloads that will never move to the cloud. So how do they take some of the things they’ve sampled in the cloud, but can they actually run them where they need to be, however they need to run it? “
The first step, according to Sones, is finding a cohesive way to handle all of this. Considering the complexity of modern infrastructures, it’s a bit of a trip, but at Ignite, Microsoft is showing off a few new integrations that will make that easier. These include integrations with Azure Stack HCI, VMware vSphere, and Azure Policy Guest Configuration. Azure Stack HCI (where HCI stands for ‘hyperconverged infrastructure’), for example, is now Arc compatible by default, while vSphere users now benefit from Azure self-service VM control to manage VMs based on vSphere models. Additionally, Azure Arc now also supports machine learning inference after an earlier update already allowed users to build and train models in Arc-enabled environments.
“Now you have full consistency between the cloud and the edge,” Sones said. “You don’t need to move your data if you don’t want to move your data. Previously, you had to move your data on-premises. In the cloud, you can use all of your Arc-enabled features there, and then grab them. Now we have this whole new life cycle.
Currently, most of Microsoft’s customers use these AI capabilities for proof-of-concepts, but not necessarily in production. The business is moving slowly, after all, but Sones says she is already seeing customers starting to put their models into production in multi-cloud environments (largely because those Azure customers, with Nokia being a big user. , serve highly regulated industries).
Another new semi-linked feature, though focused on on-premises use cases, is the launch of Azure Virtual Desktops – the ability to run multi-session Windows 10 and 11 desktop instances in the cloud – on Azure Stack HCI in a tenant. on-site data center. As Sones noted, this is a feature that users in regulated industries are asking for, but these on-premises deployments are also important for use cases where latency might be an issue.