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Microsoft today announced the launch of Azure Arc-enabled SQL, which extends Azure services to instances hosted on an edge datacenter or in a multicloud environment. Coinciding with this, the company rolled out an expanded Azure Arc partner ecosystem, validating Azure Arc against distributions including Dell PowerFlex, Red Hat OpenShift, and VMWare Tanzu.

From edge to cloud, today’s business environment is increasingly complex. As CIO‘s Bob Violino writes, in many cases, hybrid and multicloud environments are replacing proven, legacy infrastructures that have been in place for years. Companies are being forced to make the various cloud services and edge hardware fit together, a daunting task considering the shortage of talent with cloud-related skills.

Azure Arc aims to alleviate the pain points by enabling Azure SQL to run on Kubernetes clusters in the cloud, on-premises, or in a datacenter. Beginning July 30, customers will gain access to the general-purpose tier of Azure Arc-enabled SQL Managed Instance, which Microsoft says will allow them to optimize database performance, deploy feature and security updates without end-of-support, and more.

When it launches, Azure Arc-enabled SQL will also be able to automate routine database tasks via built-in management capabilities, Microsoft says. New Azure Arc-enabled SQL product features will debut on a continuous basis, letting customers opt into future services as they become generally available. And customers will also have the chance to test out future Azure Arc-enabled SQL roadmap preview features and provide early feedback in early adopter programs.


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Expanding ecosystem

On the subject of the Azure Arc ecosystem, Microsoft says that it now spans more platforms from OEMs, managed service providers, and solution integrators. In addition to Dell, Red Hat, and VMWare, Kubernetes distributions from Pure Storage and Nutanix Karbon are supported by Azure Arc out-of-the-box.

“Our team works closely with technology providers to validate popular platforms to work with Azure Arc, and our many service providers are here to provide customers with the latest innovations for hybrid data solutions on-premises or in multi-cloud environments,” Azure CVP Rohan Kumar said in a blog post. “Whether you are just getting started with migration and modernization efforts or in the middle of a multiyear smart factory rollout, our consulting services partners can help you choose the validated infrastructures and applications that are specifically configured and tested to work with Azure Arc.”

Microsoft first announced Azure Arc, which competes with Google’s Anthos and Amazon’s AWS Outposts service, at Ignite 2019. Beyond allowing containerized workloads from anywhere, Arc supports hardware running Linux and Windows Server and features the ability to bring services like Azure SQL Database and Azure Database for PostgreSQL to datacenter platforms. Developers can use Arc’s controls to build containerized apps that take advantage of the Azure tools of their choice, like Azure Resource Manager, Azure Shell, Azure Portal, API, and Azure Policy, while IT teams can launch and configure the apps using GitOps-based configuration management.

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