Azure Arc-Enabled Data Services: Azure Data Anywhere

by Ben Weissman

For those of you who are monitoring the Microsoft SQL Server world as much as me, you may have asked yourself the same question a while back: Why SQL Server on Linux? Why SQL Server on Kubernetes?

For those of you, who are unable to use the Microsoft Azure Data Cloud offerings because you can’t move to a cloud, because you’re running a multi-cloud strategy or because you’re locked in with another cloud provider, you may have asked yourself how you can still get the benefits of using services like Azure SQL Managed Instance.

The answer to both of these question are: Azure Arc-enabled Data Services.

Azure Arc is more than just data: At its core, Microsoft Azure Arc provides Azure management services wherever you have deployed resources on-premises or any cloud. It enables you to have consistent management services and tooling for your organizations' core operations across technology architectures wherever deployed.

Azure Arc runs on Kubernetes which we just don’t have the time to talk about in depth. Still, if you’re a DBA or Architect and have not looked into Kubernetes yet, I highly recommend you doing that quick: In my opinion, it’s the future for modern application and database deployments!

Coming back to the data world, this means that you can run any kubernetes on any cloud or on promises and link it to the Azure world:

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Within your Kubernetes Cluster, you’ll be running an Azure-Arc data controller which will be your main entry point into your installation.

Through said controller, you can deploy Azure Arc-enabled PostgreSQL Server and Azure Arc-enabled SQL Managed Instance which will be represented by Kubernetes Pods within your controller’s namespace – which is basically a zone within a Kubernetes cluster to bring ressources together. Kind of like a subfolder.

The controller will then – either through Direct mode, meaning that data is replicated constantly or through Indirect mode, meaning that you will have to trigger the data’s upload – send your logs and metrics to the Azure Portal.

Your on-prem managed instances will show up in the portal including their SQL performance metrics and logs. This means that you get a central looking glas into your Azure Data estate, even if some – or all – of your instances don’t even sit in Azure.

But it gets better: You can get the same benefits as from the regular Platform as a Service offerings. Microsoft will take care of patching your Instances and tasks like backup automatically.

Therefore, Azure Arc-enabled data services get you the full benefits of a managed cloud service without the hardware or cloud-vendor lock-in that you’d usually expect from such offerings!

Want to learn more? Anthony E. Nocentino and myself just published a book which will introduce you to Azure Arc-enabled Data Services and the powerful capabilities they provide. You’ll learn how to benefit from the centralized management that Azure provides, the automated rolling out of patches and updates, and more. It is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a hybrid or multi-vendor cloud strategy for their data estate. We will walk you step by step through the possibilities and requirements to get services like Azure Arc-enabled SQL Managed Instance or Azure Arc-enabled PostgreSQL Hyperscale deployed outside of Azure so they become accessible to companies who either can’t move to the cloud or don’t want to use the Microsoft cloud exclusively. The technology described in this book will be especially useful to those who are required to keep sensitive services such as medical databases away from the public cloud, but who still want to benefit from the Azure Cloud and the centralized management that it supports.

About the Author

Ben Weissman is the owner and founder of Solisyon, a consulting firm based in Germany and focused on business intelligence, business analytics, and data warehousing. He is a Microsoft Data Platform MVP, the first German BimlHero, and has been working with SQL Server since SQL Server 6.5. Ben is also an MCSE, Charter Member of the Microsoft Professional Program for Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Data Science, and he is a Certified Data Vault Data Modeler. If he is not currently working with data, he is probably travelling to explore the world.

This article was contributed by Ben Weissman, co-author of Azure Arc-Enabled Data Services Revealed.