Microsoft announces next evolution of Azure VMware Solution

Takeshi Numoto Commercial Chief Marketing Officer, Microsoft

Today, I’m excited to announce the preview of the next generation of Azure VMware Solution, designed, built, and supported by Microsoft and endorsed by VMware.

With the current economic environment, many organizations face new challenges to find rapid and cost-effective solutions that enable business stability, continuity, and resiliency. The new Azure VMware Solution empowers customers to seamlessly extend or completely migrate their existing on-premises VMware applications to Azure without the cost, effort, or risk of re-architecting applications or retooling operations. This helps our customers gain cloud efficiency and enables them to innovate at their own pace with Azure services across security, data, and artificial intelligence, as well as unified management capabilities. Customers can also save money with Windows Server and SQL Server workloads running on Azure VMware by taking advantage of Azure Hybrid Benefits.

Microsoft first party service

The new Azure VMware Solution is a first party service from Microsoft. By launching a new service that is directly owned, operated, and supported by Microsoft, we can ensure greater quality, reliability, and direct access to Azure innovation for our customers while providing you with a single point of contact for all your needs. With today’s announcement and our continued collaboration with VMware, the new Azure VMware Solution lays the foundation for our customers’ success in the future.

Sanjay Poonen, Chief Operating Officer at VMware commented, “VMware and Microsoft have a long-standing partnership and a shared heritage in supporting our customers. Now more than ever it is important we come together and help them create stability and efficiency for their businesses. The new Azure VMware Solution gives customers the ability to use the same VMware foundation in Azure as they use in their private data centers. It provides a consistent operating model that can increase business agility and resiliency, reduces costs, and enable a native developer experience for all types of applications.”

These comments were echoed by Jason Zander, Executive Vice President at Microsoft, who said, “This is an amazing milestone for Microsoft and VMware to meet our customers where they are today on their cloud journey. Azure VMware Solution is a great example of how we design Azure services to support a broad range of customer workloads. Through close collaboration with the VMware team, I’m excited that customers running VMware on-premises will be able to benefit from Azure’s highly reliable infrastructure sooner.”

The new solution is built on Azure, delivering the speed, scale, and high availability of our global infrastructure. You can provision a full VMware Cloud Foundation environment on Azure and gain compute and storage elasticity as your business needs change. Azure VMware Solution is VMware Cloud Verified, giving customers confidence they’re using the complete set of VMware capabilities, with consistency, performance, and interoperability for their VMware workloads.

Access to VMware technology and experiences

Azure VMware Solution allows you to leverage your existing investments, in VMware skills and tools. Customers can maintain operational consistency as they accelerate a move to the cloud with the use of familiar VMware technology including VMWare vSphere, HCX, NSX-T, and vSAN. Additionally, the new Azure VMware Solution has an option to add VMware HCX Enterprise, which will enable customers to further simplify their migration efforts to Azure including support for bulk live migrations. HCX also enables customers running older versions of vSphere on-premises to move to newer versions of vSphere seamlessly running on Azure VMware Solution.

Seamless Azure integration

Through integration with Azure management, security, and services, Azure VMware Solution provides the opportunity for customers to continue to build cloud competencies and modernize overtime. Customers maintain the choice to use the native VMware tools and management experiences they are familiar with, and incrementally leverage Azure capabilities as required.

As we look to meet customers where they are today, we are deeply investing in support for hybrid management scenarios, and automation that can streamline the journey. We are excited to announce more about future hybrid capabilities as they relate to Azure VMware Solution, soon.

Leverage Azure Hybrid Benefit pricing for Microsoft workloads

Take advantage of Azure as the best cloud for your Microsoft workloads running in Azure VMware Solution with unmatched pricing benefits for Windows Server and SQL Server. Azure Hybrid Benefit extends to Azure VMware Solution allowing customers with software assurance to maximize the value of existing on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server license investments when migrating or extending to Azure. In addition, Azure VMware Solution customers are also eligible for three years of free Extended Security Updates on 2008 versions of Windows Server and SQL Server. The combination of these unmatched pricing benefits on Azure ensures customers can simplify cloud adoption with cost efficiencies across their VMware environments.

In addition, at general availability Reserved Instances will also be available for Azure VMware Solution customers, with one-year and three-year options on dedicated hosts.

Global availability and expansion

The Azure VMware Solution preview is initially available in US East and West Europe Azure regions. We expect the new Azure VMware Solution to be generally available in the second half of 2020 and at that time, availability will be extended across more regions. Plans on regional availability for Azure VMware Solution will be made available here as they are disclosed.

To register your interest in taking part in the Azure VMware Solution preview, please contact your Microsoft Account Representative or contact our sales team.

Learn more about Azure VMware Solution on the Azure website.

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Six reasons customers trust Azure to run their SAP solutions

Talal Alqinawi Senior Director, Azure Marketing

As global organizations across every industry adjust to the new normal, SAP solutions are playing an increasingly vital role in addressing immediate needs and paving a path to a resilient future. Now more than ever, companies are realizing the value of running their SAP solutions in the cloud. While some are using advanced analytics to process their SAP data to make real-time business decisions, others are integrating their SAP and non-SAP data to build stronger supply chains. Whether it’s meeting urgent customer needs, empowering employees to make quick decisions, or planning for the future, customers running SAP solutions in the cloud have been well prepared to face the new reality. Check out how Walgreens delivers superior customer service with SAP solutions on Microsoft Azure.

Many organizations running their SAP solutions on-premises have become increasingly aware of the need to be more agile and responsive to real-time business needs. According to an IDC survey, 54 percent of enterprises expect the future demand for cloud software will increase. As global organizations seek agility, cost savings, risk reduction, and immediate insights from their ERP solutions, here are some reasons many of the largest enterprises choose Microsoft Azure as their trusted partner when moving their SAP solutions to the cloud.

1. Running SAP solutions on Azure delivers immediate insights and increased agility

“Now that we have SAP in the cloud … we have a platform for digital innovation in the cloud … With Azure, we’ve lifted our entire IT landscape up to a higher level where we can drive experimentation with much less risk and much less cost.”—Sarah Haywood, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Technology at Carlsberg Group

Organizations running SAP solutions on Azure gain real-time and predictive insights that empower them to break into new ways of doing business. Azure offers the ability to tap into more than 100 cloud services, access SAP Cloud Platform, apply intelligent analytics, and also integrate with an organization’s existing productivity and collaboration tools such as Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Power Apps, and Microsoft Power BI.

With Azure, organizations can integrate their SAP and non-SAP data through an extensive portfolio of Azure data services and create real-time dashboard views of the current operations using SAP and Microsoft business intelligence tools. Using intelligent analytics deepens real-time and predictive insights to improve decision-making by responding dynamically as business conditions change, and how that change impacts your customers or products. Integration with Teams and Microsoft 365 improves team collaboration and enhances user experience and productivity. Using Microsoft Power Automate, Power Apps, and Power BI, organizations can create customized workflows, apps, and business insight reports without having to write any code.


2. An ever-evolving and growing set of Azure cloud services drives continuous innovation

“We are looking at drones, IoT, RFID sensors, artificial intelligence, chatbots, and every other futuristic technology you can think of to do mining better, and with Azure we have a broad foundation for exploring all that.”—Head of Enterprise IT Services, Rio Tinto

While Zuellig Pharma is building an app that uses Azure blockchain services and data from the SAP Business Suite on HANA to track and capture counterfeit products and illegal parallel imports in its region, Walgreens plans to use AI and machine learning to develop new customer offerings quickly and respond in real time to changes in the marketplace.

Customers such as Rio Tinto are using Azure’s secure and scalable IoT applications to pilot a solution to take real-time data from trucks, drills, smelters, and other equipment and analyze it to gain equipment health, preemptive maintenance, supply chain efficiency, and other operational intelligence. Additionally, with DevOps with GitHub and Azure Kubernetes Service, customers can build, manage, and deploy applications on a massive global network.

3. Running SAP solutions on Azure offers costs savings

“We chose to migrate to Azure for three main reasons: cost, strategy, and speed … We saw a big cost advantage with SAP HANA on Azure over the cloud we currently used”—David South, Director of Architecture at Coke One North America Services

Forrester study showed customers achieved more than 100 percent ROI, a 50 percent reduction in data center costs, and a 100 percent reduction in SAP release delays by migrating their SAP systems to Azure. Moving to Azure not only eliminates capital expenditure and cost of underutilized hardware, but it also offers cost management tools such as on-demand scaling during peak usage periods, using cheaper storage, and optimizing disaster recovery environments.

By running SAP solutions on Azure, organizations replace expensive, manual, and error-prone processes with automated, flexible processes, and with a single ticket-to-solution experience, enterprises empower employees to focus on value-added activities by putting data in their hands.

4. Running SAP solutions on Azure offers immense flexibility and scalability

“Moving to Azure gives us the scalability we need … running SAP on Azure gives us the agility and flexibility we need to disrupt the healthcare industry in a way that improves our customers’ access to the products and services they need.”—Dan Regalado, Vice President of Global Technology Transformation and Strategic Partnerships, Walgreens

Customers across every industry run their largest production SAP landscapes on Azure because it is a proven cloud platform certified by SAP to run their most mission-critical SAP applications. Azure offers the industry’s most performant and scale-able cloud infrastructure—offering 192 GB to 12 TB SAP HANA certified VMs in more regions than any other public cloud provider along with support for both Linux and Windows OS. Azure offers on-demand scalability and agility that reduces the time to market —customers can spin up or spin down resources as needed. For instance, Daimler AG reduced operational costs by 50 percent and increased agility by spinning up resources on-demand in 30 minutes with SAP S/4HANA and Azure. 

Azure also offers access to more than 1,000 pre-built integrations, out-of-the-box business services, SAP HANA services, and apps built by SAP and our partners. Customers such as Tate and Lyle appreciate that with Azure, they get access to compute, network, and storage resources preconfigured for SAP HANA that they didn’t have to build, install, or manage.

5. SAP solutions on Azure offer best-in-class security, compliance, and business continuity

“If you go to the Microsoft Trust Center, you can see the tremendous investment Microsoft makes in security certifications and compliance. It would have been very costly for Kennametal to implement that level of security within our own environment. Instead, we get to inherit it from Microsoft.”—John Johnston, Senior Manager, Global Information Security and Compliance, Kennametal

Azure’s intelligent security services are backed by a $1 billion annual investment in enterprise-grade security and compliance offers and 3,500 cybersecurity professionals. Azure has the most compliance offerings of any public cloud. Azure offers the best-in-class security services such as Azure Sentinel for SIEM, Azure security center for threat monitoring, and Azure Active Directory for identity management. Additionally, customers can leverage built-in availability and recovery options such as Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery to ensure business continuity and data protection. Microsoft teams work closely with partners to ensure that critical systems remain online during migration and offer a robust set of joint planning workshops, migration programs such as FastTrack, POCs, and training and certifications.

6. Organizations benefit from the trusted partnership between SAP and Microsoft

“We needed a provider that enjoys a close partnership with SAP, understands our needs, and can accelerate our migration and expand our capabilities. Azure answered every need.”—Joshua Sefchek, Manager of Cloud and Enterprise Services, Toyota Material Handling North America

After decades of working together to serve our customers, SAP and Microsoft deepened their relationship by signing the Embrace initiative. As part of Embrace, SAP will lead with Azure to move on-premise SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA customers to the cloud through industry-specific best practices, reference architectures, and cloud-delivered services. Our engineering teams co-residing in Germany and Redmond, Washington work together to develop joint reference architectures, product integration roadmaps, and best practices; our industry teams are jointly developing industry-specific transformation roadmaps, and our support teams have developed collaborative support models.

SAP and Microsoft have been partners for more than 25 years and are also mutual customers. Microsoft is the only cloud provider that’s been running SAP for its own finance, HR, and supply chains for the last 20 years, including SAP S/4HANA. Likewise, SAP has chosen Azure to run a growing number of its own internal system landscapes, including those based on SAP S/4HANA. Microsoft IT and SAP IT generously share their learnings from running SAP solutions on Azure with our customers. Check out the latest MSIT webinar and SAP IT webinar for some best practices.

More than 95 percent of Fortune 500 companies run their business on Azure. Our experience and history give us a powerful understanding of the needs of enterprise customers. Together with SAP, customers have trusted us with their most critical workloads for decades because we understand what it takes to support our customers in their journey to the cloud.

We look forward to seeing you this month at the virtual SAPPHIRE and ASUG events. Learn more about SAP solutions on Azure and read today’s announcement about new offerings to help our SAP customers optimize costs and increase agility.

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