Microsoft, Dell unveil new Azure-VMware integrations

Two years ago, Microsoft and VMware were at odds over Microsoft's plans to host VMware workloads on Azure. What a difference a couple years makes.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

It was just two years ago that Microsoft and VMware were at odds over Microsoft making a preview of VMware virtualization on Azure. When that preview was announced, VMware officials noted Microsoft's preview was developed without VMware's participation and was neither certified nor supported by VMware.

What a difference a couple years make.

On April 29, Microsoft and Dell Technologies (a majority shareholder in VMware) announced via an "expanded partnership" that the two would provide customers with "a native, supported, and certified VMware experience on Microsoft Azure."

See also: Dell Technologies makes VMware linchpin of hybrid cloud, data center as a service, end user strategies   

The newly announced Azure VMware Solutions provides a common operating framework for running, managing and securing applications across VMware and Azure. Customers can use VMware vSphere, vSAN, NSX and vCenter as part of the arrangement. The goal of Azure VMware Solutions is to enable users to "extend and redeploy" VMware workloads natively on Azure, officials said. Support VMware workloads on Azure can be integrated with Azure Active Directory, Azure AI and IoT.

Also today, Microsoft announced that VMware Workspace ONE application-management platform is now part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, which means Workspace ONE users can manage and secure features in Office 365 across devices thanks to integration with Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory Premium. Workspace ONE will be updated so it can integrate with the relevant Intune programming interfaces, officials said.

And like Citrix plans to do, VMware will be extending the Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop, officials said today. "Initial capabilities are expected to be available as a tech preview by the end of calendar 2019," officials said.

Update (April 30): A search through the FAQ document about Azure VMware Solutions shows that CloudSimple is the company that developed (with Microsoft?) the currently available VMware on Azure capability. CloudSimple is in the business of providing "secure, high performance, dedicated environment in Public Clouds to run VMware workloads." Azure is the only cloud it supports currently, but there is a mention on its site of "additional public clouds." Microsoft's M12 Ventures unit is one of the investors in CloudSimple.

Another cloud partner is working on an additional Azure VMware Solution, the Microsoft FAQ notes. VMware Cloud Verified partner Virtustream is working in conjunction with Microsoft another VMware on Azure service, which is slated to be available later this year. Virtustream is a Dell Technologies business that provides products to help enterprises, service providers and government agencies migrate to public, private and hybrid clouds.

I asked Microsoft if either of these companies were the ones working on providing VMware on Azure capabilities a couple years back when VMware was not happy about Microsoft's multi-cloud messaging. No word back so far.

(Thanks to @Rich_Gibbons for the pointer to the info on Azure VMware Solutions' background.) 

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