Long time ago, all the IT professionals were working on what we call now “on prem”.
At this time, we had to install all the things manually (electricity, racks, servers) and then install Operating Systems and of course Applications. Then, daily, our job was to look at the infrastructure, and make sure it is running well and up to date.
Even if this on prem scenario seem to be “one single scenario”, we already had a lot of opportunities and challenges to address:
- many private Datacenters (multiple locations) in our private buildings,
- private Datacenters but installed in hosting partners facilities, managed by us or via delegated professional services.
We can already see that “on prem” word was in fact already “multiple on prem” opportunity and IT teams then had to adress challenges involved by this complexity.
About Microsoft: At that “On Prem” time, Microsoft was already providing great solutions such as Windows, Exchange/Sharepoint, ISA and UAG for Security, and a great management suite called System Center suite (with monitoring, backup, .. etc).
… Then, quickly the “Cloud model” has arrived and accelerated at Warp speed, generating a lot of enthusiasm.
About Microsoft: “Exchange/Sharepoint” became BPOS (the first version of Office 365). Azure started with just a few VMs and an basic portal, and then accelerated at an insane speed with now an impressive list of services.
When the cloud started to arriver, a lot of other companies invested in this business.
These companies are sometimes called the “born in the cloud” companies, which means that they were not present during “On Prem” golden age, and then are not quite focus the On Prem business specifically. We see that frequently they rather try to collaborate and partnership with well known “On Prem” well known brands to create an hybrid story.
We could say that when the Cloud model arrived, the world had then two choices:
- On prem: Buy and amortization, then deploy/manage ourself,
- Cloud: rent, pay per use, delegation.
In fact, it is not a choice (aka one or the other), this is just an opportunity for the customers, as the two models are totally different and complementary.
The way you buy, implement, manage, everything is different when we compare OnPrem and Cloud.
The Hybrid world has arrived.
- You know very well the history of Microsoft. We started OnPrem, we expanded in the Cloud.
- In fact Microsoft has multiple Public Clouds: Azure & Office 365 of course, CRM and Xbox.
- We also expanded the vision of Cloud on the “OnPrem”. You can “create” your Azure Datacenter “in” your own private Datacenter (mostly for legal and network constraints). The Stack offers.
- And of course you can already leverage strong Azure Services on you on prem: Monitoring, security, health.. etc.
As you can see “Hybrid” is a very big opportunity for IT Pros. They have definitely more options on the table to address business constraint, but the flip side of the coin is that it becomes more complex, especially if you decide on top to have multiple “public cloud” providers.
We see then big challenges: as we have multiple “cloud”, we have the bad habit to “silo” each of them when it comes to management, especially on security and automation.
What we see : for each “cloud”, we use different configuration, different policies, … involving extra costs as we need multiple areas of expertise.
How could we ease this pain and focus on the opportunity it brings? what is the Microsoft offer to address these challenges ?:
- As Microsoft DNA is definitely hybrid (for decades), we introduced several years ago a free product named Azure Arc.
- The goal of Azure Arc is to break the silos. Once deployed, Arc creates “bridges” between Azure and the other datacenters (aka not in Azure) giving the opportunity to manage all of them, no matter where they are, centrally.
- The final goal is to have only 1 way to manage the infrastructure, no matter where it is located.
To summarize Arc in 2 lines:
- Central vision: Once we have these “bridges” created, we can centrally (Azure) see all the resources no matter where they are located.
- Policy-driven management: as they are registered in Azure as external machines, the policies defined centrally will be deployed automatically, no matter what is the Datacenter underneath.
We are introducing here the notion “policy driven” architecture.
Let’s discuss more in details in the next Posts.