What is Azure Arc enabled servers?

Azure Arc enabled servers enables you to manage your Windows and Linux physical servers and virtual machines hosted outside of Azure, on your corporate network, or other cloud provider. This management experience is designed to be consistent with how you manage native Azure virtual machines. When a hybrid machine is connected to Azure, it becomes a connected machine and is treated as a resource in Azure. Each connected machine has a Resource ID, is included in a resource group, and benefits from standard Azure constructs such as Azure Policy and applying tags. Service providers who manage a customer's on-premises infrastructure can manage their hybrid machines, just like they do today with native Azure resources, across multiple customer environments, using Azure Lighthouse with Azure Arc.

To deliver this experience with your hybrid machines hosted outside of Azure, the Azure Connected Machine agent needs to be installed on each machine that you plan on connecting to Azure. This agent does not deliver any other functionality, and it doesn't replace the Azure Log Analytics agent. The Log Analytics agent for Windows and Linux is required when you want to proactively monitor the OS and workloads running on the machine, manage it using Automation runbooks or solutions like Update Management, or use other Azure services like Azure Security Center.

Note

The Azure Monitor agent (AMA), which is currently in preview, does not replace the Connected Machine agent. The Azure Monitor agent will replace the Log Analytics agent, Diagnostics extension, and Telegraf agent for both Windows and Linux machines. Review the Azure Monitor documentation about the new agent for more details.

Supported scenarios

When you connect your machine to Azure Arc enabled servers, it enables the ability to perform the following configuration management and monitoring tasks:

  • Assign Azure Policy guest configurations using the same experience as policy assignment for Azure virtual machines. Today, most Guest Configuration policies do not apply configurations, they only audit settings inside the machine. To understand the cost of using Azure Policy Guest Configuration policies with Arc enabled servers, see Azure Policy pricing guide.

  • Report on configuration changes about installed software, Microsoft services, Windows registry and files, and Linux daemons on monitored servers using Azure Automation Change Tracking and Inventory and Azure Security Center File Integrity Monitoring, for servers enabled with Azure Defender for servers.

  • Monitor your connected machine guest operating system performance, and discover application components to monitor their processes and dependencies with other resources the application communicates using VM insights.

  • Simplify deployment using other Azure services like Azure Automation State Configuration and Azure Monitor Log Analytics workspace, using the supported Azure VM extensions for your non-Azure Windows or Linux machine. This includes performing post-deployment configuration or software installation using the Custom Script Extension.

  • Use Update Management in Azure Automation to manage operating system updates for your Windows and Linux servers

    Note

    At this time, enabling Update Management directly from an Arc enabled server is not supported. See Enable Update Management from your Automation account to understand requirements and how to enable for your server.

  • Include your non-Azure servers for threat detection and proactively monitor for potential security threats using Azure Security Center.

Log data collected and stored in a Log Analytics workspace from the hybrid machine now contains properties specific to the machine, such as a Resource ID. This can be used to support resource-context log access.

Note

This service supports Azure Lighthouse, which lets service providers sign in to their own tenant to manage subscriptions and resource groups that customers have delegated.

Supported regions

For a definitive list of supported regions with Azure Arc enabled servers, see the Azure products by region page.

In most cases, the location you select when you create the installation script should be the Azure region geographically closest to your machine's location. Data at rest is stored within the Azure geography containing the region you specify, which may also affect your choice of region if you have data residency requirements. If the Azure region your machine connects to is affected by an outage, the connected machine is not affected, but management operations using Azure may be unable to complete. If there is a regional outage, and if you have multiple locations that support a geographically redundant service, it is best to connect the machines in each location to a different Azure region.

The following metadata information about the connected machine is collected and stored in the region where the Azure Arc machine resource is configured:

  • Operating system name and version
  • Computer name
  • Computer fully qualified domain name (FQDN)
  • Connected Machine agent version

For example, if the machine is registered with Azure Arc in the East US region, this data is stored in the US region.

Supported environments

Arc enabled servers support the management of physical servers and virtual machines hosted outside of Azure. For specific details of which hybrid cloud environments hosting VMs are supported, see Connected Machine agent prerequisites.

Note

Arc enabled servers is not designed or supported to enable management of virtual machines running in Azure.

Agent status

The Connected Machine agent sends a regular heartbeat message to the service every 5 minutes. If the service stops receiving these heartbeat messages from a machine, that machine is considered offline and the status will automatically be changed to Disconnected in the portal within 15 to 30 minutes. Upon receiving a subsequent heartbeat message from the Connected Machine agent, its status will automatically be changed to Connected.

Next steps

Before evaluating or enabling Arc enabled servers across multiple hybrid machines, review Connected Machine agent overview to understand requirements, technical details about the agent, and deployment methods.