VMware Officially Supported on Microsoft Azure Clouds

VMware Officially Supported on Microsoft Azure Clouds

May 10, 2019 Off By Hoofer

Written by David Marshall

Dell Technologies World had no shortage of announcements.  But one of the more eye opening performances on stage was when Dell CEO, Michael Dell, VMware CEO, Pat Gelsinger and Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, embraced and buried the hatchet by announcing a new partnership which has the three companies delivering a fully native, supported and certified VMware cloud infrastructure on Microsoft Azure.

At that moment, I was reminded of the Peter Venkman of Ghost Busters quote, “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!”  Okay, maybe it wasn’t that crazy!  But still, definitely a bit weird to see those three players (companies) sharing a stage together based on historical events.

If we turn back the hands of time to only two years ago, Microsoft and VMware were at complete odds with one another over Microsoft announcing a preview of VMware virtualization on Azure.  Unfortunately, that preview was stifled as VMware quickly came out to say ‘this offering was developed without VMware’s involvement,’ and therefore, it was neither certified nor supported by VMware.

“Our experience has shown public cloud environments require significant joint engineering to run enterprise workloads,” Ajay Patel, senior vice president product development cloud services at VMware, wrote at the time.  “Hence, we cannot endorse an unsupported and non-engineered solution that isn’t optimized for the VMware stack.”

Patel went on to say back then, “VMware does not recommend and will not support customers running on the Azure announced partner offering.”

Without official support from VMware, for most organizations and users, that was the death blow before things ever got off the ground.

Instead, VMware promoted other hybrid solutions, with initiatives already in play such as VMware Cloud on AWS, announced at VMworld 2017.  Or other cloud partnerships from OVH and IBM Cloud.

Fast forward to Dell Technologies World day 1 keynote, and this new partnership announced on the Las Vegas stage has been officially blessed by all three parties — Microsoft, VMware and Dell.  Customers can now move their virtualized workloads with authority between on-premises data centers and Microsoft’s public cloud, without the need to re-architect applications or re-tool operations. 

It’s a similar deal to that of the 2016 partnership that let Amazon Web Services customers leverage VMware’s technology.  The deals are intended to address the trend of companies using multiple cloud services as well as internal data centers for their corporate infrastructure, also known as hybrid cloud.

“Customers are excited to see us expand our collaboration with Microsoft,” admitted Gelsinger.  “This Microsoft announcement is a big deal… it is a resolution of a long-standing conflict between VMware and Microsoft.”

Michael Dell, added, “With this announcement, Dell Technologies and Microsoft are working to simplify our customers’ entire technology environment.  Our goal is to provide a single view from edge to core to cloud – an integrated platform for our customers’ digital future.”

“In my close to 30 years of working in technology, I’ve never seen a trend like digital transformation in the way that it is so core to innovation,” said Nadella.  “It’s just phenomenal to see that.  What’s needed to fuel that is great infrastructure.  And I’m really thrilled and pleased to announce the availability of Azure VMware Solutions.  This brings all those VMware capabilities to Azure so that customers have the best of VMware and the best of Azure.”

The VMware stack on Azure is built with VMware Cloud Foundation – a suite of tools for cloud computing that includes vSphere, NSX, VSAN and vRealize.  The newly announced solution provides a common operating framework for running, managing and securing applications across VMware and Azure.  Customers can use the VMware suite of tools as part of the arrangement.  And VMware workloads on Azure can be integrated with Azure Active Directory, Azure AI and IoT.

The new service will be sold only by Microsoft and its partners, though the companies did not say how much the new services will cost.  Microsoft said services are already available in the US East and US West Azure regions, and it will be expanding to other areas such as West Europe in the coming months. 

Even with this latest announcement, VMware’s relationship with AWS remains the most important one within their cloud strategy.  “These new Azure VMware solutions are a Microsoft-offered service,” said Gelsinger.  “We continue to have our Amazon relationship as our preferred VMware-offered service.”  However, there can be no doubt, this is definitely a significant extension of VMware’s hybrid cloud strategy and capabilities.

As part of this new Dell and Microsoft partnership, Dell created a product that lets corporate IT managers more easily set up employee computers with Microsoft Windows.  In addition, joint Microsoft 365 and VMware Workspace ONE customers will be able to manage Office 365 across devices via cloud-based integration with Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory.  And finally, another new service involving Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop product will also be available later this year leveraging VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure.


About the Author

David Marshall is an industry recognized virtualization and cloud computing expert, an eleven time recipient of the VMware vExpert distinction, and has been heavily involved in the industry for the past 20+ years.  To help solve industry challenges, he co-founded and helped start several successful virtualization software companies such as ProTier, Surgient, Hyper9 and Vertiscale. He also spent a number of years transforming desktop virtualization while at Virtual Bridges.

David is an author of two very popular server virtualization books and the Technical Editor on Wiley’s “Virtualization for Dummies” and “VMware VI3 for Dummies” books.  David authored countless articles for a number of well known technical magazines, including: InfoWorld, Virtual-Strategy and TechTarget.  In 2004, he founded the oldest independent virtualization and cloud computing news site, VMblog.com, which he still operates today.

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