Running VMware workloads on Microsoft Azure was first discussed towards the end of 2017, around the same time “VMware Cloud on AWS” was launched. There then followed a blog post from VMware taking a few shots at Microsoft and stating the initial project was “neither certified not supported by VMware”. Although this was subsequently toned down through edits, it gave a clear indication of the feelings between the two companies.
Well, fast forward 18 months or so and here we have Azure VMware solutions. The first available is via a VMware partner called CloudSimple, with a 2nd offering in the works from VirtuStream.
What does it do?
This new offering enables organisations to “move or extend on-premises VMware environments to Azure”, while continuing to benefit from your existing VMware investment including vSphere, vSAN, vCenter etc. vSphere based VMs can be created and viewed via the Azure portal and Azure Resource Manager and you can integrate Azure services such as Azure Backup and Azure Monitor too.
Organisations that are heavily invested in VMware, in terms of both technology and skills, will be able to take advantage of public cloud benefits – such as on-demand scale out – without writing off much of what has already been spent, and adding the cost of re-training teams on Azure.
Licensing & Pricing
It is interesting, and important, to note that the CloudSimple solution runs on infrastructure fully dedicated to you that is “physically isolated from infrastructure of other customers”. This should mean that no additional license rights (such as Software Assurance) are required to run application software in the VMware on Azure environment. However, I’d definitely say it’s something to keep an eye on with software vendors, just make sure you’re happy that your rights allow use in this new environment.
There is no public pricing for this currently, but I’d suspect this won’t, at least initially, be payable via Monetary Commitment on an EA. If that is the case, any use of this service will be additional to any Azure commitment already made via your contract. It’s also fair to say this isn’t going to be cheap! There are multiple parties who need to make money from it, and it requires dedicated hardware per customer, so you will really need to understand how it can benefit you to decide if it makes sense to go for this solution.
But wait – there’s more!
Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, was onstage at Dell TechWorld alongside Michael Dell, CEO of Dell, and they announced some other areas of co-operation when it comes to virtual desktops.
First, organisations with Microsoft 365 and VMware Workspace ONE will be able to manage Office 365 using integration with Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory.
Also announced was that Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) will be able to have its abilities extended via VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure. Horizon Cloud is VMware’s platform for offering cloud-hosted virtual desktops that can be delivered to a range of devices; it will be interesting to see exactly what features it adds to Windows Virtual Desktop.
It’s very interesting to see these two long-term rivals start working together. This closer collaboration should be a positive for organisations – anything that makes it easier to deploy, manage, and use infrastructure is good. The power of the cloud is truly something to behold!
Quite what, if anything, this will mean for ITAM is yet to be seen, I think. If nothing else, it’s a good opportunity to ensure licensing rules are understood by the various teams this involves.
VMware on Azure – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/azure-vmware/
VMWare on Azure by CloudSimple – https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/azure-vmware-cloudsimple/
VMware on Azure by CloudSimple documentation – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/vmware-cloudsimple/
CloudSimple – https://www.cloudsimple.com/
About Rich Gibbons
A Northerner renowned for his shirts, Rich is a big Hip-Hop head, and loves travel, football in general (specifically MUFC), baseball, Marvel, and reading as many books as possible. Finding ways to combine all of these with ITAM & software licensing is always fun!
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