Microsoft recently announced the next iteration to the Azure VMWare Solution, which aims to make it easier and cheaper to allow migration of on-Premise VMware applications to Microsoft’s Azure cloud. This next generation version, is now available in Preview for US East and West Europe regions, targeting 2nd half of 2020 for general availability.
The new version of the solution enables customers to extend beyond their datacenter or a complete migration of on-Prem VMware apps to Azure without the need to re-architect the applications as they have traditionally required. This, in turn, provides cost savings, lowers effort and risk to get VMWare application workloads to Azure.
Under the covers, the Azure VMWare Solution gives customers the ability to use the same VMWare foundation, VMWare Cloud Foundation (VCF), in Azure as they do today in their private datacenters. This is a first-party Azure Service that’s built and supported by Microsoft and endorsed by VMWare. Since it’s a native implementation of VMware’s VCF it benefits customers to move to Azure without having to learn anything new, plus they are able to get Microsoft’s hybrid use benefit option as well.
Before we jump into the use cases that this solution would target, let’s talk about what VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) is and how it helps with orchestration and a customer’s cloud journey, especially in a multi-cloud scenario. VCF is a solution that VMWare developed that provides an integrated stack which bundles Compute Virtualization (VMware vSphere), Storage Virtualization (VMware vSAN), Network Virtualization (VMware NSX) and Cloud Management and Monitoring (VMware vRealize Suite) into a single platform that can be deployed on-premises where a customer is responsible for managing the physical infrastructure as well as the virtual machine workloads or be run in an As-A-Service offering in public cloud where the cloud provider, such as Azure, AWS or GCP, manages the underlying physical infrastructure and the customer responsibility is to manage the virtual machine workloads.
Cloud Foundation introduced a new abstraction known as Workload Domains which consist of one or more vSphere clusters that are provisioned by SDDC Manager. These Workload Domains are resource containers with specific policies configured to handle performance, availability and security.
This framework provides a standard architecture based on VMware Validated Designs with the complete lifecycle automation in mind, providing a clear path to a modernized hybrid environment.
Dell Technologies has the longest running modernized datacenter strategy with a broad portfolio of solutions to meet this. One proven solution is VCF on VxRail which delivers an experience you won’t find from any other infrastructure running VCF today. Building upon native VxRail and Cloud Foundation capabilities that bring unique capabilities with unique integrations jointly engineered between Dell Technologies and VMware will simplify, streamline and automate the operations of your entire SDDC from Day 0 through Day 2 operations.
Having on-Prem integrated solutions is a key component of a modernized infrastructure today, and Dell Technologies provides the necessary components to support a strong Hyper-Converged datacenter, but that’s only a piece. What about the Public Cloud? Well, deploying and managing VMware solutions have been available for a while with offerings from Amazon Web Services, like “VMware Cloud on AWS” as well as Microsoft announcing support for 3rd-party solutions in April, 2019 from CloudSimple and Virtustream. However, now Microsoft and VMware have formed a strong partnership to deliver a true 1st-party Azure service that allow enterprise customers run their VMware technology, including VMware vSphere, HCX, NSX-T, and vSAN, on Azure without the cost, effort or risk associated with having to re-architect applications.
Wow…so you can now run native VMware workloads in Azure, but what are some scenarios that you could use for this?
Let’s look at just some of the possibilities…
- Reduce Datacenter footprint through consolidation and/or retirement
- Expand Datacenter operations, seamlessly and elastically for on-demand short periods of time to handle capacity constraints on-Prem
- Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity, using a VMware stack deployed in Azure as a primary or secondary disaster recovery site for your on-Prem VMware-based workloads
- Application Modernization that allows you to tap into the expanding Azure ecosystem to develop more cloud-native applications in a controlled way without having to abandon or rebuild or your VMware-based environments.
As mentioned previously, Azure VMware solution is in preview but you can review pricing for this new service here.
How Does Azure Stack Hub or HCI fit into this picture?
Today, there is no path to allow Azure VMware Solutions services to run in an Azure Stack Hub or HCI instance as this service is only available to Azure Public scenarios where the VMware workloads will run in Azure in a colocation scenario and then be directly managed by Microsoft. However, as these applications begin to modernize and take advantage of native cloud architectures, it would be possible to deploy those applications to local instances of Azure Stack Hub.