Dell, VMware and Microsoft executives announced on Monday what seems inevitable a few years ago: VMware, a subsidiary of Dell, comes to Microsoft Azure to give VMware users a consistent experience in their own data centers and the second largest public cloud.
With light in detail, the announcement, made during Dell Technologies World's opening keynote in Las Vegas, included integration into several Microsoft products. One is ahead of the infrastructure, promising customers the ability to extend their local VMware environments to Azure data centers.
VMware announced that it would integrate with Amazon Web Services, the world's largest public cloud in 2016. Its strategy in recent years has been to create technologies that help customers use multiple cloud providers and various types of infrastructure. With that in mind, it would only be a matter of time before VMware did a similar with Azure.
The partnership "brings all of VMware's capabilities natively to Azure and Azure customers," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Dell's annual conference.
According to a Dell press release, the company expects application migration, data center expansion, disaster recovery, business continuity, and modern application development to be "some of the most popular customer scenarios" for integrated offerings.
Cloud providers and vendors of enterprise technology such as Dell, VMware and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have embraced the idea that most companies will keep part of their workloads in their own data centers, leveraging multiple cloud services as they see fit. In this hybrid cloud world, VMware is a kind of gatekeeper, saying that its software runs on data centers of 500,000 customers.
Despite competing with each other, cloud providers such as AWS and Azure are "looking at 500,000 VMware customers" and millions of IT professionals trained in VMware and want to integrate into that ecosystem, Matt Baker, senior vice president of strategy and Dell's Dell technology business unit's Dell EMC planning said during a Dell press event in San Francisco earlier this month.
Microsoft has at least been involved with some VMware customers in the Azure ecosystem in the past. In 2017, he previewed a hosted VMware stack product running on dedicated hardware in Azure datacenters. Microsoft apparently created the service without the involvement of VMware. VMware criticized the initiative and said its partnership with AWS should address the "clear limitations of a hosted VMware solution," such as Microsoft's.
Unlike AWS, Microsoft has a long history in the enterprise IT market and a large corporate foundation of its own. But its biggest incursion into the hybrid cloud, the Azure Stack, was modestly successful, according to Baker. "The Azure Stack has been there for a long time and it has not moved much," he said. Dell is one of Microsoft's partner vendors that sells hardware for Azure Stack software.
Integration with VMware is a different and less disruptive approach to the hybrid cloud than the Azure Stack. Instead of selling customers a mini version of Azure for installation in their own datacenters, they can use the same VMware tools they already know when using Microsoft's global hyperspace cloud platform – seamlessly interconnected with their local environment.
Executives did not share a planned availability date for the offer and a Dell spokesman did not respond to a request for comments in time for publication. If the release is similar to the release of VMware on AWS, do not expect availability soon. AWS integration required deploying VMware cloud infrastructure on bare-metal servers in Amazon datacenters and many other "deep modifications on both sides," said Kit Colbert, VMware VP and CTO of its Cloud Platform business unit in the year past.
The VMware cloud was released in a single AWS availability region almost a year after the AWS partnership was announced and is not yet available in all regions. "By the end of [this] In the calendar year, we will support all of them, "Colbert said at this month's press event.
VMware is the VMware provider and operator at AWS. It is not clear whether to follow a similar model for Azure's offer.
A very deep integration that the companies said they were only "exploiting" at the moment (among others) would be between VMware's network virtualization platform, NSX, and Azure Networking. Another would be to provide customers with the ability to manage some specific Azure services with VMware management tools.
Ongoing integrations also included in Monday's announcement are between VMware Workspace One and Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory; between Microsoft 365, Workspace One, and Dell Provisioning Services; and between VMware Horizon Cloud and Azure. Technology previews for the initial capabilities of this group will be released by the end of the year, Dell said.