In one of our previous articles you could read about how MSPs can overcome the challenge of managing multi-customer environments with Azure Lighthouse. Azure Lighthouse is a service offered by Microsoft on Azure and developed primarily for MSPs to efficiently manage those multi-tenant environments in Azure at scale from one central portal. We already mentioned the ability to connect other Azure services to Lighthouse, such as Azure Arc. This article explains how Azure Arc can extend Azure services and Azure management to any infrastructure wherever it resides on Azure or beyond.
The challenge of managing separate environments
Many MSPs have adopted a multi-cloud scenario to become vendor-independent. This has the advantage of not being tied to a single vendor, but introduces immediate complexity related to the management of all these different environments, including the on-premise data centre. Let’s look at a common scenario that can also apply to your situation.
As a Service Provider, you might have expanded your on-premise environment with Microsoft 365 on Azure. After that you might have looked for backup storage on AWS or Google or started running certain workloads – let's say Kubernetes clusters – in another cloud, or deploying Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure. In no time at all, a number of environments are created that you need to manage separately, with a lot of complexity as the result.
Azure Arc, a central hub on Azure for non-Azure infrastructure
Now that Microsoft introduces Azure Arc, it is much easier to manage, analyse and monitor all your environments from a single pane of glass. While Azure Lighthouse enables you to manage all your multi-customer Azure resources in one portal, Azure Arc also connects all your non-Azure Windows and Linux servers and Kubernetes clusters to Azure. Like what? Any infrastructure, including on-premise hardware, non-Azure clouds such as Google, AWS, and also edge devices, e.g. IoT connected machines. All non-Azure machines connected to Azure with Azure Arc become connected machines and are treated as a resource in Azure. Therefore, the combination of Azure Lighthouse and Azure Arc results in a very powerful tool, providing you with centralized management capability for all your customer resources.
Azure Lighthouse and Azure Arc: a powerful tool with centralized management capability for all resources.
Lighthouse is a free service for MSPs on Azure which is generally available; Azure Arc is in preview and available as a service at no additional cost; it is expected to go GA in 2021.
One single view for success
In order to be successful, it is crucial to simplify and centralize today's fragmented, complex IT environments as much as you can. By connecting all your Azure and non-Azure environments to Azure Lighthouse and Azure Arc, you create one consolidated view over all your environments, removing complexity, increasing efficiency, reducing manual work, and saving time and money. You get benefits in terms of:
- Governance and control
Monitor all your distributed environments across on-premises, edge and multi-cloud in one consolidated view and improve control and governance procedures, including automated bulk procedures.
- Deployment and management
Deploy and manage Linux and Windows operating systems, as well as Kubernetes clusters. Adopt and benefit from cloud practices on-premise.
Push Azure access and security policies to all your servers and Kubernetes clusters, making sure they are all compliant, independent of where they are running.
Enable developers to deploy with self-service and choice of tools from a single control plane with Azure Lighthouse and Azure Arc.
Improve automation, scalability and management
Azure Lighthouse and Azure Arc provide MSPs with a unified management solution to service customer resources across on-premises, edge and multi-cloud environments, including both Windows and Linux servers, and Kubernetes clusters. Azure Lighthouse is used for services within the Azure world, while Azure Arc is used for non-Azure resources. The result is a higher level of automation, scalability and improved management, so your operating systems are healthy and up-to-date with less manual work, higher reliability and efficiency.
Lighthouse as the foundation
Basically, Azure Lighthouse is the foundation for MSPs to also build, control and manage other services around the portal, such as Azure Arc, or Azure Sentinel, the scalable solution for security information event management (SIEM) and security orchestration automated response (SOAR). Azure Lighthouse is actually just the tip of the iceberg. What you see is only a small part, but beneath the surface lies the basis to freely build many different services.
Watch our free webinars to learn more about today’s challenge of managing complex, distributed environments more efficiently and securely. Or contact us at Insight right away to discuss how you can benefit from all-inclusive, centralized management with Azure Lighthouse and Azure Arc.