Microsoft Ignite 2019: Using VMware as a Service on Azure

Two industry leaders are joining forces to bring businesses solutions for digital transformation.

When businesses are deciding whether to migrate to the cloud, they’re often facing similar concerns: what to move, when to move it and where to move it. It can be costly and time-consuming for organizations to move all of their data and applications from legacy systems into the public cloud.

To help ease that transition for customers, Microsoft has launched a new product with VMware to make the shift quick and simple: Azure VMware Solutions.

90 percent of [VMware’s] customers say they want to move to the cloud,” said Eric Lockard, corporate vice president for Azure Dedicated, Wednesday at Microsoft Ignite. “But they want to keep at least some of their applications within the VMware environment.”

Using VMware as a Service

AVS, which launched about six months ago and is now available in three regions, including the U.S., allows customers to run VMware services through Azure. Lockard described it not as a short-term solution to get organizations through a transformation but as an offering that allows them to use VMware as a service, in perpetuity.

“It’s not just a steppingstone to data,” said Lockard.

The product offers a full VMware stack, including access to related third parties. The integrated service can be controlled either through Azure or through the VMware experience organizations are used to.

“The service handles a lot of things that you would have to do yourself if you were on-premises, like hardware repair,” Lockard said. “It really frees you up to think more about the applications rather than the platform they’re running on.”

Increased Efficiency and Lower Costs

The ability to move to the cloud with minimal disruption was a major reason why Lucky Brand decided to deploy AVS, according to CTO Kevin Nehring. He said via video that the company was feeling the digital pressure from online retail giants, but with thousands of stores, employees, and devices, the task of upgrading seemed daunting.

“We didn’t want to necessarily have to build new applications,” said Nehring. “We wanted to leverage what we already had.

Lucky Brand was able to utilize what it already had in VMware, and then use Azure to connect all that data with “one pane of glass,” as Nehring puts it, from on-premises data centers to the cloud.

“We are really trying to bring data together, reduce costs and drive revenue,” he said, adding that the move has laid the foundation for what they’re trying to achieve in the future.

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Read more from Microsoft Ignite about how CISOs can simplify security.

A Win-Win Partnership

Lockard acknowledged that it may seem strange to some that two of the biggest brands in the field are partnering up, but the decision makes sense for Microsoft, which wanted to wanted to deliver a product aimed at customers who may not want the headache of a learning curve.

“They like that environment, they have investments in it, and they don’t want to think about moving it,” he said.

“What we care about is that Azure is the best cloud for our customers,” Lockard said, “and that means supporting all the platforms that our customers want to run.”

While companies are still able to run all of the applications they are accustomed to on VMware, they’re now also able to utilize the full range of Azure services, giving them access to data storage, security, machine learning and more.

“AVS is Azure,” Lockard said, “So, you can really choose to bring some or all of your VMware applications to Azure.”

Find more of BizTech's coverage of Microsoft Ignite 2019 here.

Olivier Le Moal/Getty Images
Nov 06 2019

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