Google pursues AWS and Azure users with free Windows migrations

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Google pursues AWS and Azure users with free Windows migrations

Google has given Microsoft, AWS and their respective channels something to think about with a new service that moves Windows Server 2008 workloads into its cloud and upgrades them to Windows Server 2012.

Windows Server 2008 reached its end of life on 14 January, 2020. Microsoft will continue to support the OS, but only at significant cost. As usual, some users are willing to risk running an unsupported and vulnerable OS. Google appears to be targeting those folk with a new feature to its Migrate for Compute Engine product.

As the company explained in a blog post, the new feature means that migrations into Google cloud mean “Everything you had running on the original system will persist, but when the migration is done it’ll be running the new OS, Windows Server 2012. You can do this with your physical and virtual servers from on-prem, and also with VMs currently running in AWS or Azure.”

The devil is in the detail on this one, because as Google itself explains, its migration service is not magic. The company recommends testing, validation, and a parallel migration effort for the data that VMs need to do useful work.

But the offer is audacious – not least because it is free (although customers are of course on the clock for any resources they use in Google’s cloud) and comes to market against Microsoft's offer of free extended support for Windows Server 2008 workloads moved into Azure.

The big clouds have long offered migration tools, both for on-prem uplift into clouds and for cloud-to-cloud migration. CRN’s not encountered evidence that they make a significant difference to buyer behaviour, but has heard numerous partners suggest that cloud migration projects are a big part of their 2020 plans.

By saving organisations the hassle of an OS migration, Google might just attract more of their attention.

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