Microsoft, VMware Spar over 'Bare Metal' Azure Virtualization Solution

Microsoft's announcement this month of a "bare metal" VMware stack that runs on Microsoft Azure hardware appears to have raised VMware's hackles.

Now in preview, Microsoft's "VMware virtualization on Azure" offering is part of its announcement last week that included the debut of Azure Migrate. The free Azure Migrate service, which is currently available, provides discovery and assessment services for moving multiserver VMware-based applications over to Azure infrastructure.

Microsoft claims that Azure Migrate can "right-size" applications by discovering CPU, disk, memory and network dependencies. If it works well, Azure Migrate would be expected to generate VMware's ire, of course, but perhaps in a quiet way.

However, VMware mostly raised strong objections about Microsoft's VMware virtualization on Azure preview, which Microsoft described as an interim step for specific workloads that may be "more challenging to migrate to the cloud." This bare metal deployment on Azure infrastructure is not something that VMware supports, as was made crystal clear by Ajay Patel, senior vice president for product development at VMware Cloud Services.

"This offering [Microsoft's VMware virtualization on Azure] has been developed independent of VMware, and is neither certified nor supported by VMware," Patel stated in a VMware announcement.

Microsoft claimed that the VMware virtualization on Azure preview was being offered "in partnership with premier VMware-certified partners." However, Patel objected, stating that "no VMware-certified partner names have been mentioned nor have any partners collaborated with VMware in engineering this offering."

Patel noted that VMware has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support VMware Cloud on AWS, which is a jointly engineered effort that's fully supported by VMware. It also partnered with IBM to support IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions, which similarly permits VMware workloads to run from IBM's cloud infrastructure. Microsoft Azure, though, isn't one of those clouds supported by VMware.

"Our experience has shown public cloud environments require significant joint engineering to run enterprise workloads," Patel wrote. "Hence, we cannot endorse an unsupported and non-engineered solution that isn't optimized for the VMware stack. VMware does not recommend and will not support customers running on the Azure announced partner offering."

Speculation about the technical issues associated with Microsoft's announcement was discussed this week in a podcast hosted by Keith Townsend, principal at The CTO Advisor. He noted that cloud infrastructures typically lack Layer 2 data link support, which complicates matters for those organizations trying to move to the cloud.

Townsend's guest during the podcast, Tim Carr, a cloud automation specialist at Ahead, said that he was most excited by Microsoft's Azure Migrate announcement because of the difficulties associated with data migration issues when bringing over applications to the cloud. It's difficult to reconcile the different database management types, he indicated. Carr also noted that a lot can happen with such cloud moves from a networking perspective, particularly with regard to ensuring high availability for applications.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.


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