Microsoft sports new cloud tool “Azure Migrate”

Microsoft unveiled a free cloud tool called Azure Migrate yesterday, which the company said will make it easier to move VMware based applications to its infrastructure-as-a-service platform. The tool, available Nov. 27, signals a move on Microsoft’s part to gain a competitive edge in the cloud computing market against rivals like Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Azure Migrate is able to discover on-premises, VMware based applications without making changes to an operational environment. It then virtualizes various components to reveal how they interact with each other. This allows administrators to visualize group level dependencies in multi-VMware applications, enabling them to group and prioritize the entire application for migration.

Microsoft’s decision to support VMware is underscored in that it offers a competing hypervisor called Hyper-V. VMware is immensely popular among Fortune 500 companies and elsewhere, providing Migrate a large audience from the start. It also complements Microsoft’s cloud edge, which has a history of catering to big tech companies. In addition, like AWS, Microsoft Azure provides customers access to its cloud computing services on a pay-as-you-go basis similar to a utility bill.

Using Azure Cost Management, Azure Migrate can estimate how much hardware each workload requires so enterprises do not have to determine how much infrastructure they need to provision on Microsoft’s cloud. The company said some customers are saving 84% compared to keeping their VMware running in a data center.

Physically moving a workload can be accomplished with Azure’s current services. Microsoft is offering tools that enable companies to replace the value-added features VMware offers for automation backups and operational work. Nevertheless, some workloads can have a difficult time adjusting to a new environment. Consequently, Microsoft is deploying Azure Migrate with the ability to run existing VMware-virtualized applications on its infrastructure.

Microsoft’s Azure Migrate comes at a time when the company has shown interest in a hybrid cloud approach, which allows users to move application workloads with a combination of traditional infrastructure, private cloud and public cloud. Hybrid cloud models have become popular among industries that want to benefit from the cloud, but don’t wish to do away with their conventional infrastructure quite yet. According to research firm IDC, by 2020, the combined IT infrastructure spending on private and public cloud is expected to surpass spending on traditional data centers. Azure Migrate compliments a hybrid cloud approach by enabling users to move some, but not all, of their software.

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