How Azure VMware Solution from Microsoft could solve your Cloud infrastructure and VMware challenges

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With VMware’s recent acquisition by Broadcom leading to a thorough shakeup of the VMware partner community, VMware users and partners across the world have pressing questions about the future and viability of their virtual infrastructures. In this blog, Advania’s Chief Information Officer and Azure Product Director Nick Isherwood provides a comprehensive analysis of the situation and outlines next steps that businesses can take.  

VMware news: new horizons for virtual infrastructure 

On 5th February 2024, Broadcom stated that it will be “…transitioning VMware’s partner programs to the Broadcom Advantage Partner Program by invitation only.” This change signals the end of hundreds of VMware’s partnerships with distribution, solution providers and resellers, leaving many in the dark about their position as a value-added partner to end-customers. 

With the announcement of Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware coming just before the end of 2023, it has been an unsettling time for those with long-term commitments to the VMware portfolio. As one of the worlds most trusted hypervisors, product users everywhere are wondering how the shake-up in the partner eco-system might affect organisational commitment to the VMware product suite.  

Though there is a great deal of uncertainty, what is known is that Broadcom have begun inviting only their top-tier partners in terms of consumption back onto the Advantage program. Though Broadcom have stated that this move will offer “new revenue opportunities for those partners through the bundling of key cloud products”, this decision means they are retaining less than half of all global VMware partners. We are extremely proud that the Advania group, including its businesses in the UK and the Nordics, are part of the global elite who have been invited back.  

Broadcom have already made big changes to the VMware product stack, consolidating it into fewer offerings – described by some buyers as a welcome change as it reduces complexity in the offering. This simplification indicates that the changes may be more disruptive for the Partner ecosystem itself rather than the end user. Few details are currently known about the commercials associated with the new Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, but a move that pushes VMware customers to “per core” licensing through VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) could have a material impact on existing architectures. 

VMware or another Cloud platform: should you make the switch? 

The news has left many customers wondering whether to wait and see what happens or to use this as the catalyst for accelerating their cloud strategy through an alternative Cloud platform as part of their broader transformation plans. While an alternate platform may be an attractive option given the uncertainty, and while there may be some commercial implications to end-users – such as VMware following the market trend and switching to a subscription model – these implications may still be less impactful than migrating away or re-platforming significant business investments. 

The reality is that VMware remains an excellent choice for cloud computing, having dominated datacentres for decades.

However, many organisations are looking at their near-term position to leverage data, analytics and AI, and to support corporate objectives around sustainability, security, and compliance. The recent news creates an inflexion point for many IT executives with boardroom conversations now exploring alternative cloud platforms, including Microsoft Azure given Microsoft’s leading propositions across these strategic imperatives for CIOs.  

From this point of view, the VMware announcement is not so much a reason on its own to make a change but provides a catalyst to refocus attention on organisations’ strategic imperatives.  

Microsoft Copilot: boosting the Microsoft Cloud 

Where organisations are already investing in Microsoft 365, combined with the huge pace which Microsoft has infused AI copilots throughout its product stack across M365 and Azure, it is hardly surprising that attention is turning to the broader Microsoft ecosystem. The opportunities for deeper interoperability and integration that these solutions provide enable access to new capabilities that drive innovation and propel organisations forward. 

As an Azure Expert MSP and a long-standing VMware Partner, Advania has supported many organisations with their strategy to leverage the Microsoft Cloud, including enterprise-scale migrations involving complex hybrid operations underpinned by VMware technologies and services. However, it is important to recognise that organisations are not always able to move at pace following years of investment with VMware in both technology, operations, and internal skills.  

How an expert MSP can support your Cloud ambitions 

At Advania, we have offered Managed Services with VMware for over a decade and continue to partner with clients looking for additional support and expertise to augment skills within their own teams. Over 100  organisations trust Advania with their VMware estate on our high-availability, UK-based cloud platform which offers continuous monitoring, unparalleled security, backup and disaster recovery. 

Furthermore, Microsoft Azure and VMware offer a compelling proposition for those looking to extend their VMware datacentre into Azure to integrate with new services. Azure VMware Solution (AVS) is a first-party supported, highly scalable environment that allows customers to run VMware workloads natively on the Azure Cloud platform. Our expert knowledge in Azure and VMware makes us a leading choice for transformation and modernisation projects.

Azure VMware Solution as your next Cloud choice 

AVS is a great opportunity for organisations to extend their VMware workloads to the cloud without having to rebuild their existing infrastructure or significantly change their applications. This is often a key pain point during cloud migrations, particularly when speed is of the essence. 

With AVS, you can deploy, manage, and scale your VMware workloads on a global, highly available and secure Azure infrastructure. This means you can take advantage of the elasticity, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of Azure while still using the same familiar VMware tools and processes.

The Azure VMware Solution provides several key benefits, including: 

  • Improved business agility and flexibility 
  • Reduced infrastructure complexity and cost 
  • Improved disaster recovery and business continuity 
  • Improved security and compliance 
  • Simplified management and operations 

Customers can retain the use of their existing tooling such as vSphere for management, vSAN, HCX and NSX-T capabilities, capitalising on existing VMware investments, skills, and tools while leveraging the scale, performance, new capabilities, and innovation of Azure.  

At the other end of the scale, some organisations are looking to accelerate past a lift-and-shift of virtual infrastructure, right through to end-to-end application modernisation to truly transform their technology operations. This is a fantastic way to realise the full benefits of the cloud, reviewing each application through a tools-based assessment and retiring, rehosting or rearchitecting apps using cloud native services and moving to a pay-as-you-consume model offering greater flexibility, governance, and security.  

Commercially, and depending on the project scale, Microsoft will provide Azure Migrate and Modernise (AMM) funding, accessible via specialized Microsoft partners. This can often offset a sizable proportion of the capital investment for initial adoption. Couple this with highly desirable “unique to Azure” financial benefits, such as free extended security updates for Windows Server and SQL server workloads, and Azure Hybrid Usage benefit which allows for the portability and discounting of existing licenses with Software Assurance on Azure, and customers can save between 30% and 50% off pay-as-you-go pricing.  

Additionally, attractive pricing reductions are available for those who know that their investment in specific resources is for the medium- to long-term. Azure Reservations for one or three years are longer terms commitments which offer discounts from PAYG pricing models, while Azure Savings Plan for Compute provides more flexibility but is only relevant to Compute resources. These offerings, independently or together, can save clients significant money.  

Contact us for a free, no obligation discussion to help you navigate these recent developments and to understand the most appropriate next steps and opportunities for your organisation. Whether your next move is supporting or extending your existing VMware environment, or modernising and scaling with Azure, you can trust our award-winning teams to give you the very best advice. 

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