Last year, Microsoft collaborated with Dell to launch VMware Solutions, enabling users to run native VMware-based workloads on Azure. In August, the tech giant expanded the set of capabilities being offered through the solutions, and increased its availability to eight regions.
Today, Microsoft has announced the preview of its next-generation Azure VMware Solution, promising time- and cost-efficient extension and migration of on-premise workloads to the cloud. Endorsed by VMware, the first-party service will be operated and supported directly by Microsoft.
Sanjay Poonen, CEO at VMware, commented on the development in the following manner:
"VMware and Microsoft have a long-standing partnership and a shared heritage in supporting our customers. Now more than ever it is important we come together and help them create stability and efficiency for their businesses. 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. It provides a consistent operating model that can increase business agility and resiliency, reduces costs, and enable a native developer experience for all types of applications."
The service will be VMware Cloud Verified, ensuring that all VMware capabilities will be provided to customers. VMware tools that many customers are already familiar will be available to use to support the cloud migration process. These include the likes of vSphere, HCX, NSX-T, and vSAN, with the additional option of HCX Enterprise that assists in the process of bulk live migrations.
Moving on, the extension of Azure Hybrid Benefit to VMware Solution will also provide users with further value to their Windows Server and SQL Server on-premise license investments. In addition to the pricing advantages, these users will also be able to benefit from three years of free Extended Security Updates for 2008 versions of the Windows Server and the SQL Server. And finally, Reserved Instances with one- and three-year options on dedicated hosts will be made available as well.
With regards to integration with various Azure services, Microsoft has assured customers that future hybrid capabilities will be arriving soon, as the firm continues its investment in this department. In the meantime, native VMware tools can be leveraged alongside already available Azure features.
Currently, the next-gen Azure VMware Solution is available in preview in the U.S. East and West Europe Azure regions. However, it is set to reach general availability in the latter half of this year, with plans to increase support across further regions at that point as well. Keep an eye out for updates on regional availability for the service here. Those who qualify for the preview can contact the Azure Sales team or their own Microsoft Account Representative to become part of this phase.