Why use Azure VMware?

Azure VMware Solution by Cloud Simple provides a fully managed VMware service that allows customers to run VMware workloads natively on Microsoft Azure. This service offers customers several benefits over traditional on-premises VMware deployments or other cloud-based VMware options. In this article, we will explore the key advantages of using Azure VMware and why it may be the right choice for your organization’s cloud migration and modernization journey.

Why use Azure VMware?

Benefits of Azure VMware

Seamless migration of VMware workloads

One of the biggest benefits of Azure VMware is the ability to lift-and-shift VMware workloads to the cloud with no need for conversion or refactoring. Azure VMware allows you to migrate VMs from on-prem vSphere environments to the Azure cloud quickly and without modification. This simplifies cloud migration and makes Azure VMware an ideal disaster recovery target for VMware-based workloads.

Operational consistency with on-premises VMware

Azure VMware provides the same architecture, features, and tooling as on-premises VMware environments. IT teams can leverage existing VMware expertise and processes when managing Azure VMware workloads. There is no need to learn new tools or processes. Azure VMware also integrates with on-prem vCenter for unified management across cloud and on-prem.

Built-in high availability and fault tolerance

Azure VMware leverages Azure infrastructure for built-in redundancy and availability. The service offers 99.9% VM uptime SLA and utilises features like HA/DRS for automated failover. You get enterprise-grade resiliency without the overhead and cost of building it yourself on-prem.

Flexible scaling

Azure VMware enables quick and easy scaling of resources to meet the demands of dynamic workloads. You can scale hosts up and down and add/remove clusters as needed without purchasing additional hardware. This agility and elasticity makes Azure VMware ideal for spiky or unpredictable workloads.

Usage-based pricing

You only pay for the Azure VMware resources you consume. This usage-based model allows you to scale resources aligned to workload demand and provides cost efficiencies over on-prem VMware. No need to overprovision hardware on-premises.

Deep integration with Azure

Although hosted in Azure, Azure VMware isn’t an isolated cloud silo. The service integrates natively with other Azure services like storage, networking, security, and more. This unlocks additional capabilities, cost savings, and hybrid scenarios.

Key Use Cases for Azure VMware

Data center retirement or consolidation

Migrating VMware workloads to Azure VMware provides a path to retire or consolidate expensive on-premises data centres. You eliminate the need to maintain and refresh hardware while keeping management consistency through the same VMware tools in Azure.

Disaster recovery for VMware

Azure VMware is an optimal disaster recovery solution for VMware environments. You can replicate on-prem VMs to Azure VMware for DR purposes without rearchitecting workloads or learning new tools. Failover and failback is simple and familiar.

High availability for mission-critical apps

The built-in redundancy and availability of Azure VMware makes it ideal for deploying business-critical applications that require enterprise-grade resiliency and uptime. You get rock-solid VMware built on top of Azure’s reliable global infrastructure.

Cloud migration for legacy apps

Many organizations have legacy apps running on older versions of VMware or unsupported operating systems. Migrating them to Azure VMware provides a reliable and cost-efficient way to modernize while mitigating risk.

Temporary capacity expansion

Azure VMware offers a rapid way to expand infrastructure capacity for things like seasonal usage spikes, temporary projects, or short-term demand increases. Avoid costly on-premises hardware that goes unused after the peak passes.

Utilizing cloud-native Azure services

Although hosted in Azure, integrating your Azure VMware environment with other Azure PaaS services can unlock additional capabilities like AI/ML, server less computing, cloud databases, and more. This provides a gradual path to leverage cloud-native services.

Key Capabilities of Azure VMware Solution

To better understand the value proposition of Azure VMware, let’s explore some of the key capabilities it delivers:

Native VMware stack on Azure hardware

The Azure VMware service provides the complete VMware SDDC stack – vSphere, vCenter, vSAN, NSX-T – natively on Azure bare metal infrastructure. You get the familiar VMware environment you expect, backed by Azure scale and reliability.

Seamless connection to on-premises VMware

Azure VMware integrates directly with your on-premises VMware environment through vCenter for unified management and operation. You can migrate VMs to and from Azure without conversions using tools like HC Xi Leap.

Built-in high availability up to 99.9% VM uptime

The service delivers enterprise-grade HA without the complexity. Utilizing features like vSphere HA, vSphere DRS, and vSAN ensures VMs have redundancy across physical hosts and automatic failover.

Azure native service integration

Although your VMs run on a native VMware stack, the Azure VMware service integrates with backing Azure services for storage, networking, security, and more. This unlocks Azure’s reliable infrastructure.

Familiar VMware tools and processes

Operate Azure VMware as you would on-prem VMware. Use native VMware tools like vCenter, PowerCLI, NSX Manager, and vRealize Operations without learning new skills or processes.

Flexible scaling up and down

Scale hosts and clusters up or down to meet your dynamic workload needs. Quickly add capacity for things like seasonal demand spikes. Reduce capacity when needs decrease to optimize costs.

Usage-based pricing aligned to consumption

Pay only for what you use with flexible billing options aligned to hosts and number of cores utilized. Usage-based pricing provides cost efficiency over large on-premises investments.

Built-in disaster recovery capabilities

Get native disaster recovery with VMware tools like vSphere Replication and Site Recovery Manager. Replicate VMs to Azure VMware for affordable DR without the need to rearchitect workloads.

Azure VMware Use Cases and Customers

Azure VMware Solution serves a broad range of industries and use cases. Here are a few examples of real Azure VMware customers and how they leverage the service:

Rockwell Automation

Rockwell migrated legacy manufacturing workloads to Azure VMware to retire outdated on-premises data centers and modernize their architecture. Azure VMware provided a low-risk migration path without refactoring workloads.

Marriott International

Marriott leverages Azure VMware for disaster recovery of 2,000+ mission-critical VMware VMs. Azure provides a cost-effective DR option over maintaining a secondary on-prem DR site.

Magellan Health

Magellan migrated hundreds of healthcare applications to Azure VMware to exit their own data center. The lift-and-shift capabilities ensured no application rewrites were required during migration.

Eaton

Eaton uses Azure VMware to consolidate global IT infrastructure from various regions. Azure provided consistent VMware environment and disaster recovery across locations and workloads.

Matson

Matson needed temporary infrastructure capacity to support a new domestic shipping route. Using Azure VMware eliminated the need to purchase additional on-prem hardware for short-term use case.

These examples showcase Azure VMware’s fit for data center exits, disaster recovery, cloud migration, temporary capacity expansion, and global consolidation use cases.

Key Considerations When Adopting Azure VMware

Although Azure VMware provides many compelling benefits, there are a few key considerations to factor when determining if it’s the right solution for your organization:

  • Skillsets – Azure VMware requires existing VMware skills. Organizations without VMware experience may lean toward other cloud solutions.
  • Migration planning – Lift-and-shift migrations to Azure VMware still require proper planning and preparation for success.
  • Performance needs – Workloads with extremely high IOPS or throughput requirements may benefit from alternative VMware cloud options.
  • Hybrid connectivity – Your on-prem data center needs Azure ExpressRoute or VPN connectivity to access Azure VMware.
  • Cost – Although more flexible than on-prem VMware, Azure VMware still carries significant cost at scale. Model usage scenarios.
  • Long-term strategy – Azure VMware is ideal for “lift and shift” but organizations should still have a long-term cloud strategy for modernization.

While these factors should be evaluated, Azure VMware still offers significant advantages over on-premises VMware in many scenarios.

Azure VMware Pricing and Support

Azure VMware Solution is sold on a per-host basis with additional fees for usage of vCPU, memory, and storage consumption. Here is a breakdown of Azure VMware pricing:

  • Hosts – Per-host pricing starts at $295/host/month. Host sizing ranges from 2 to 24 cores and 96 to 768 GB memory.
  • Usage – Additional usage fees apply for vCPU ($0.078/vCPU/hour), memory ($0.0019/GB/hour), and storage ($0.11/GB/month).
  • Support – Azure provides 24/7 technical support at no additional charge.

Azure VMware is available in select global Azure regions. Contact an Azure sales representative for full pricing details.

Various licensing options are available for existing VMware customers including BYOL or pay-as-you-go. Shared responsibility model means Azure manages infrastructure and operations while you handle OS/software.

Conclusion

Azure VMware Solution enables organizations to run production VMware workloads natively on Azure infrastructure while providing enterprise-grade availability, resiliency, and familiar VMware tools. The service streamlines lift-and-shift migrations to the cloud and serves as an optimal disaster recovery target for on-premises VMware environments.

With Azure VMware, customers can modernize their VMware workloads and exit on-premises data centers without the risk, cost, and effort of large-scale refactoring. Azure provides easy scaling, built-in redundancy, and deep integration with other cloud services.

Organizations looking to optimize VMware footprint, consolidate global IT infrastructure, or simply gain cloud benefits for existing workloads can benefit greatly from Azure VMware. The service accelerates cloud migration while leveraging existing VMware expertise and processes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Azure VMware Solution?
    Azure VMware Solution provides the full VMware SDDC stack – vSphere, vCenter, vSAN, NSX-T – natively on Azure infrastructure enabling lift-and-shift migration of VMware workloads to the cloud. 
  2. How does Azure VMware differ from on-premises VMware?
    Azure VMware delivers the same architecture, features, tools as on-premises VMware but with the added benefits of Azure’s reliability, scalability, and cloud integration. 
  3. What are the main use cases for Azure VMware?
    Main use cases include data center exit, disaster recovery, cloud migration, temporary capacity expansion, and global IT consolidation on a consistent VMware platform. 
  4. Can I connect my on-premises data center to Azure VMware?
    Yes, Azure VMware integrates directly with on-prem vSphere environments for unified management and operation using ExpressRoute or VPN gateway. 
  5. Does Azure VMware support live migration of VMs?
    Yes, you can use VMware tools like vMotion to live migrate VMs between hosts within an Azure VMware cluster or from on-prem vSphere to Azure. 
  6. How is Azure VMware priced?
    Azure VMware uses a per-host plus usage model based on host cores, GB memory, vCPU hours, and storage consumption. Licensing options are available. 
  7. What skills do I need to use Azure VMware?
    Existing VMware skills are required. No need to learn new tools. Leverage your vSphere, vCenter, NSX-T, and vSAN expertise. Azure skills are beneficial. 
  8. How does Azure VMware achieve high availability?
    Built-in VMware HA capabilities like vSphere HA, DRS, and vSAN redundancy across Azure data centers provide enterprise-level high availability. 
  9. Can I use native Azure services with Azure VMware VMs?
    Yes, Azure VMware integrates natively with backend Azure services. You can leverage Azure storage, security, Azure AD, and other PaaS services while running VMs. 
  10. Is Azure VMware suitable for mission-critical workloads?
    Yes. The SDDC architecture, HA capabilities, and Azure infrastructure make Azure VMware ideal for business-critical applications requiring reliability and uptime. 
  11. What applications are best suited for migration to Azure VMware?
    Legacy and commercial VMware-based apps, apps requiring high uptime, global footprint consolidation, and workloads needing disaster recovery are all good candidates. 
  12. What options exist for disaster recovery with Azure VMware?
    Native VMware-based disaster recovery using vSphere Replication and Site Recovery Manager provides simple DR orchestration and failover/failback. 
  13. Can I use my existing VMware licenses with Azure VMware?
    Yes, Azure VMware supports bring-your-own license (BYOL) including vSphere, vSAN, NSX, and vRealize suites to optimize licensing costs. 
  14. How does Azure VMware security compare to on-premises VMware?
    Azure VMware integrates with native Azure security services. Azure also handles lower level physical security and data center access controls not feasible on-premises. 
  15. Can I deploy Azure VMware across multiple Azure regions?
    Yes, Azure VMware can span Azure regions for geographic diversity, regional presence, and hybrid connectivity across locations. 
  16. Is Azure VMware suitable for cloud VDI deployments?
    Absolutely. Azure VMware works well for scalable, high-performance VDI backed by Azure’s reliable infrastructure. Useful for temporary VDI projects as well. 
  17. Can I apply existing VMware governance policies and controls in Azure?
    Yes, you can extend things like RBAC, backup policies, change control, and configurations to Azure. Operational consistency with on-premises. 
  18. Key Takeaways
  • Azure VMware Solution provides a fully managed VMware SDDC natively on Azure infrastructure.
  • Organizations can lift-and-shift VMware workloads to the cloud without refactoring applications.
  • Delivers operational consistency with on-premises VMware environments and tooling.
  • Built-in availability, redundancy and dynamic scaling on Azure.
  • Usage-based pricing provides cost efficiency over on-premises VMware.
  • Ideal for data center exit, disaster recovery, migration, bursting, and consolidation use cases.
  • Integrates natively with other Azure services while running VMware workloads.
  • Accelerates cloud migration while leveraging existing VMware expertise and processes.

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