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Microsoft's VMware-to-Azure VM Migration Tool Goes Live

Organizations can now tap Microsoft's Azure Migrate tool to help migrate their on-premises virtual machines (VMs) and applications to Azure datacenter infrastructure.

In preview since 2017, Azure Migrate became generally available on Wednesday. Currently, Azure Migrate can only assess VMware workloads. Organizations can use it to discover "VMware-virtualized Windows and Linux VMs today," Microsoft explained, though improvements to "enable discovery of Hyper-V environments in the future" are in the works.

Users of the Azure Migrate tool have to create their VM migration projects using the West Central U.S. and East U.S. Azure regions, but 30 "target regions" around the world are supported for VM move planning. It seems that to actually move the VMs, organizations will need to use the Azure Site Recovery tool or the Azure Database Migration Service, but Microsoft expects to add those migration capabilities into Azure Migrate sometime in the future.

Azure Migrate is an agentless tool, but organizations optionally can use an agent to provide information about whether multi-tier applications will be able to run on Azure infrastructure. The agent also can be used to "rightsize" Azure VMs for the move, as well as estimate the move's costs.

For this release, Microsoft added a feature to Azure Migrate that lets organizations size their targeted VMs based on the current configuration, such as the "number of CPU cores and size of memory." Microsoft also eased matters so that organizations won't incur Service Map charges when viewing multitier application network dependences using the tool. Azure Migrate also now displays star icons to rate its assessments.

The pricing for Azure Migrate is ambiguously described. Possibly, it's free to use for the first 180 days, but it seems to have costs associated with the use of other services, if they get used.

VMware Virtualization on Azure
In addition to the Azure Migrate planning tool, Microsoft has a "VMware virtualization on Azure" tool, which was at the preview stage back in November. It's designed to provide a "bare-metal VMware stack" on Microsoft Azure infrastructure, as integrated by a VMware partner. VMware had reacted sharply to that announcement, noting back then that it wasn't consulted and does not support Microsoft's VMware virtualization on Azure solution.

Microsoft' announcement this week didn't mention any details about the status of the VMware virtualization on Azure tool.

Ubuntu Linux VM Plans
In related Windows news, Microsoft is currently working with Canonical to improve Windows hosting of the Ubuntu operating system in a VM. The intent is to afford Ubuntu VMs the same quality experience that hosted Windows VMs have via an "enhanced session mode." To that end, Microsoft indicated it was collaborating with the XRDP open source project, whose team had helped implement the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol on Linux, according to a Wednesday announcement.

Expected improvements from the collaborations include a "better mouse experience," an "integrated clipboard," "Windows resizing" and "drive redirection" for hosted Ubuntu VMs. The improvements are targeted to the release of Ubuntu version 18.04, code-named "Bionic Beaver," which is expected to arrive "at the end of April." When available, it'll be possible for users to get the enhanced Ubuntu VMs from Hyper-V's "Quick Create VM gallery."

Microsoft's announcement noted that the improved Ubuntu VM hosting capability can be tested now in an early form using Ubuntu version 16.04 and Windows Insider build 17063.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.