Microsoft Releases Planning Tool for VMware Moves to Azure Infrastructure

Microsoft has released its Azure Migrate planning tool at the "general availability" stage, which organizations can now use to help move their on-premises virtual machines (VMs) and applications to Azure datacenters.

Azure Migrate can only assess VMware workloads right now, according to Microsoft's announcement on Wednesday, which indicated it can be used to discover "VMware-virtualized Windows and Linux VMs today." The tool will be improved later to "enable discovery of Hyper-V environments in the future," the announcement added. The tool is now ready for production use, having been at the preview stage a few months back.

Users of the Azure Migrate tool have to create their VM migration projects using the West Central US and East US Azure regions, but Microsoft supports 30 "target regions" around the world for VM move planning. It seems that to actually move the VMs, organizations will need to use the Azure Site Recovery tool or the Azure Database Migration Service, but Microsoft expects to add those migration capabilities into Azure Migrate sometime in the future.

Azure Migrate is an agentless tool, but organizations optionally can use an agent to provide information about whether multitier applications will be able to run on Azure infrastructure. The agent also can be used to "rightsize" Azure VMs for the move, as well as estimate the move's costs.

For this release, Microsoft added a feature to Azure Migrate that lets organizations size their targeted VMs based on the current configuration, such as the "number of CPU cores and size of memory." Microsoft also eased matters so that organizations won't incur Service Map charges when viewing multitier application network dependences using the tool. Azure Migrate also now displays star icons to rate its assessments.

The pricing for Azure Migrate is ambiguously described. Possibly, it's free to use for the first 180 days, but it seems to have costs associated with the use of other services, if they get used.

VMware Virtualization on Azure
In addition to the Azure Migrate planning tool, Microsoft has a "VMware virtualization on Azure" tool, which was at the preview stage back in November. It's designed to provide a "bare-metal VMware stack" on Microsoft Azure infrastructure, as integrated by a VMware partner. VMware had reacted sharply to that announcement, noting back then that it wasn't consulted and does not support Microsoft's VMware virtualization on Azure solution.

Microsoft' announcement this week didn't mention any details about the status of the VMware virtualization on Azure tool.

Ubuntu Linux VM Plans
In related Windows news, Microsoft is currently working with Canonical to improve Windows hosting of the Ubuntu operating system in a VM. The intent is to afford Ubuntu VMs the same quality experience that hosted Windows VMs have via an "enhanced session mode." To that end, Microsoft indicated it was collaborating with the XRDP open source project, whose team had helped implement the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol on Linux, according to a Wednesday announcement.

Expected improvements from the collaborations include a "better mouse experience," an "integrated clipboard," "Windows resizing" and "drive redirection" for hosted Ubuntu VMs. The improvements are targeted to the release of Ubuntu version 18.04, code-named "Bionic Beaver," which is expected to arrive "at the end of April." When available, it'll be possible for users to get the enhanced Ubuntu VMs from Hyper-V's "Quick Create VM gallery."

Microsoft's announcement noted that the improved Ubuntu VM hosting capability can be tested now in an early form using Ubuntu version 16.04 and Windows Insider build 17063.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.


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