The long-rumored VMware-Microsoft cloud alliance has become official as the two enterprise technology giants unveiled the contours of a joint solution that will natively bring VMware environments into the Azure cloud.
While the hybrid cloud offering unveiled at the Dell World conference in Las Vegas had been expected, the comprehensive road map for releasing integrated cloud services still stirred excitement in both Microsoft and VMware channels.
"As we were planning this, there was lots of demand for this. It's great to see this solution now coming to market this year," said Michael Dell, CEO of VMware parent Dell Technologies, in his keynote at Dell World.
Azure VMware Solutions, the service to hit market later this year, will immediately compete with VMware Cloud on AWS, the groundbreaking partnership between the virtualization leader and the only provider that eclipses Microsoft's share of the public cloud market.
Development and support for VMware environments in Azure, which once was anathema to VMware's cloud strategy, is a component of a broader set of integrated products also touching device management and Desktop as a Service.
Azure VMware Solutions will incorporate all technologies encapsulated by VMware Cloud Foundation—vSphere compute virtualization, NSX networking and vSAN storage—to deliver native, supported and certified VMware infrastructure on Microsoft Azure.
The hybrid service was developed in conjunction with CloudSimple, a startup that has worked for more than two years developing the capability to run VMware's data center stack in dedicated Azure cloud instances. Virtustream, a cloud provider under the roof of Dell Technologies, also contributed to the development effort.
Because the service integrates with native Azure services, it will simplify the process of adding capabilities like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things into VMware-based applications.
"It's a new level of automation and simplicity that can unlock the power of your data and drive your business into the future," Dell said.
Other solutions to stem from the partnership include a jointly developed integration between Microsoft 365, which incorporates the market-leading Office 365 cloud-based office productivity suite, and VMware's Workspace ONE device management platform. That product will allow management of Office 365 across devices using Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory.
VMware also plans to extend the capabilities of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop by enabling VMware Horizon Cloud, a DaaS solution, to run on Azure.
"Together with Dell Technologies and VMware, we are providing our mutual customers with an integrated cloud experience and digital workplace solutions to open up new opportunities and meet their evolving needs," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a prepared statement.
VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, also in a prepared statement, said customers want to see his company expand its collaboration with Microsoft.
"These innovative cloud and client offerings will deliver customers even more value, provide more flexibility to accelerate their hybrid multi-cloud and multi-device journey, and accelerate the digital transformation of their business," Gelsinger said.
Microsoft has in the past offered VMware-to-Azure migration tools, and even offered hosted VMware in Azure using NetApp/Cisco FlexPod systems. This new deal seems to signal an end to such hostilities.