UPDATED 19:48 EDT / MAY 04 2020

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Microsoft debuts Azure VMware Solution in preview

Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of its long-awaited Azure VMware Solution, which makes it cheaper and easier for customers to migrate VMware applications on-premises in data centers to the company’s public cloud infrastructure platform.

Jason Zander, executive vice president for Azure, said the launch of the service was an “amazing milestone” for both companies that will help them to “meet our customers where they are today on their cloud journey.”

“The new Azure VMware Solution gives customers the ability to use the same VMware foundation in Azure as they use in their private data centers,” said Sanjay Poonen, VMware’s chief operating officer.

Microsoft announced it was working on the Azure VMware Solution in April 2019. The service is built atop of VMware Cloud Foundation and enables VMware workloads to run on Azure natively.

Microsoft’s cloud rival Amazon Web Services Inc. has a competing offering called VMware Cloud on AWS.

The Azure VMware Solution makes it possible for Microsoft’s partners and customers to use their existing skills and toolset in VMware, while enjoying the benefits of running workloads in the cloud, Microsoft said.

“Customers can maintain operational consistency as they accelerate a move to the cloud with the use of familiar VMware technology including VMWare vSphere, HCX, NSX-T, and vSAN,” Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft’s commercial chief marketing officer, wrote in a blog post.

The new service is an important milestone for Microsoft because VMware runs most on-premises workloads, and it’s precisely those loads that cloud vendors want to attract, said Holger Mueller, an analyst with Constellation Research Inc.

“Differentiation is needed and Microsoft wants to achieve that with a first party offering that owns and manages things directly,” Mueller said. “This is good news for enterprises that wish to move on-premises VMware workloads closer to their Microsoft Azure-based applications.”

The solution also gives users more value from their existing Windows Server and SQL Server on-premises licenses, where applicable. Those users gain not only price benefits, but also an additional three years of Extended Security Updates through Azure Hybrid Benefit, if they’re running 2008 editions of that software, Microsoft said. In addition, customers will be given the option to rent Reserved Instances on Azure, with one and three year options on dedicated hosts.

Microsoft is planning to integrate the Azure VMware Solution with other Azure services in future, Numoto said.

The Azure VMware Solution is available now in preview in the U.S. East and West Europe Azure regions. The service is expected to reach general availability in the second half of the year, with support for additional regions.

Photo: Techstage/Flickr

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