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Microsoft Announces Azure VMware Solution Preview

The long and winding road to run VMware virtualization tech on the Microsoft Azure cloud has taken a new turn with a preview of an updated Azure VMware Solution announced this week.

Azure VMware Solution lets organizations run VMware workloads natively on Azure.

It's a first-party Azure service built and supported by Microsoft and endorsed by VMware, announced in a blog post that features complimentary commentary from both companies, with VMware touting "a long-standing partnership and a shared heritage in supporting our customers."

The relationship wasn't always so cozy, though, as VMware a few years ago ripped a Microsoft "bare-metal" VMware stack that ran on Azure hardware. At the time, VMware emphasized the effort was "neither certified nor supported by VMware."

VMware had earlier teamed up with cloud computing leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) for a "VMware Cloud on AWS" solution, which may have added to the VMware/Microsoft friction.

Just about a year go, however, the companies made nice and announced the first iteration of Azure VMware Solution.

This week Microsoft announced a preview of the updated solution that lets enterprises run their VMware tech -- including VMWare vSphere, HCX, NSX-T, and vSAN -- on Azure.

Using vSphere Client to Manage an Environment on Azure
[Click on image for larger view.] Using vSphere Client to Manage an Environment on Azure (source: Microsoft).

Organizations can now completely migrate their existing on-premises VMware applications to Azure without the cost, effort, or risk associated with needing to re-architect applications or retool operations, Microsoft said.

"You can provision a full VMware Cloud Foundation environment on Azure and gain compute and storage elasticity as your business needs change," said Microsoft exec Takeshi Numoto in a May 4 blog post. "Azure VMware Solution is VMware Cloud Verified, giving customers confidence they're using the complete set of VMware capabilities, with consistency, performance, and interoperability for their VMware workloads."

Microsoft said popular scenarios for the solution include:

  • Datacenter footprint reduction, consolidation, and retirement: "Reduce your datacenter footprint with a one-time re-deployment of your VMware-based virtual machines. Lift and shift any vSphere-based workloads to Azure in a non-disruptive, automated, scalable, and highly available way without changing the underlying vSphere hypervisor."
  • Datacenter expansion based on demand: "Seamlessly and elastically expand or augment datacenter capacity -- and adjust your costs -- on demand for short periods of time."
  • Disaster recovery and business continuity: "Use a VMware stack deployed in Azure as a primary or secondary on-demand disaster recovery site for on-premises datacenter infrastructure."
  • Application modernization: "Tap into the Azure ecosystem to modernize your applications without having to rebuild your VMware-based environments."

For now, the Azure VMware Solution preview is available in US East and West Europe Azure regions, with general availability -- and more regions -- expected in the second half of the year. Pricing information is available here.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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