Azure VMware Services – expanding your VMware infrastructure to Azure cloud

Posted by: Danilo Milutinovic May 01, 2020

Azure IaaS offers various services that help you to upgrade or migrate your existing workloads quickly to the Azure cloud. It starts from virtual machines with different operating systems and configurations for you to choose, to the services that include handling large infrastructures and workloads, allowing you to implement hybrid cloud infrastructures (for example, Azure VMware Solutions or Azure Arc among others). Azure IaaS is continuously upgrading and modernizing to provide the highest level of service quality and performance. At the same time, IaaS is compliant with all modern standards, so you do not have to think twice when choosing your Cloud provider for your next Cloud-based project.

Azure VMware Solutions

The process of appropriate planning for datacenter expansion usually includes a lot of capital investment once you get approval: purchase of proper, compliant hardware, licenses, network, or other needed equipment. This operation can take a significant amount of time to organize resources, configure infrastructure and get everything to run optimally. If your current workloads are on the VMware platform, Microsoft made sure that you can seamlessly integrate your workload with the cloud, without stressing about hardware compliance. In bringing Azure VMware Solutions to your data centre lifecycle, Microsoft has collaborated with not just VMware directly, but also with some of its trusted cloud partners like CloudSimple. The solution is VMware Cloud Verified, which only means VMware customers can use this advantage of Azure cloud with confidence in the infrastructure.

Key Benefits of Azure VMware Solutions

By extending your data centre to Azure, you can access a wide array of Azure ecosystem and resources. As most of the Cloud-based services, Azure VMware Solution helps your company to cut costs and reduce capital investments. You can upgrade and modernize your infrastructure and workload easier than ever. With Azure VMware Solution, there is no need to modify your existing networks, vCenter, storage, or currently running backup systems. Organizations and companies can rely on most of the same VMware solutions they have always used for on-premises environments. That includes familiar tools such as VMware vCenter, vSphere Client, vRealize, NSX Manager and many others.

Features

Azure VMware Solution Components

Let’s take a quick look at the core component of this service:

Hypervisor – Infrastructure that is “behind the scene” is consisting of hosts with VMware vSphere 6.7U1b version, and Microsoft takes care of hypervisor’s hardware. During the configuration of service, you can choose between the following instances:

INSTANCE SIZECS28CS36
CORE2836
RAM256 GB512 GB
ALL FLASH STORAGE5.62 TB11.25 TB
NVME-CACHE1.6 TB3.2 TB

However, you need to be aware that, though you have a complete host at your disposal, you still do not host-level access. But, rather “just-in-time” privileged access is allowed to allow access to VMware or other third-party applications to migrate your workloads. That includes tools that are provided by Veeam, Zerto, or other vendors.

Storage – Host storage based on vSAN technology offers all-flash SSD primary storage and uses very fast NVMe cache storage. Storage size depends on the instance size that you have chosen, but it can be expanded by adding additional nodes/instances.

Encryption – Data is encrypted both in rest and in transit.

Networking – Network segmentation is fully supported and is implemented via VLAN and NSGs. The recommended way of connecting your on-prem infrastructure is via ExpressRoute since it guarantees high speed dedicated link with the lowest latency.

Service Management – Azure VMware Solution makes management easier so you can continue to use your well-known VMware management tools that you use to manage your on-premise system. Alternatively, you can also use the Azure portal to create VMware vSphere-based Virtual machines. Through Azure Resource Manager, you can also access and implement other Azure infrastructure services that are at your disposal.

How easy is it to configure Azure VMware Solution service?

We will breakdown the deployment into steps to be easier to understand the whole provisioning process:

Initiate the Azure VMware Solution service

Once you create an appropriate resource group, create your Azure VMware Solution by CloudSimple service. Give a name to your instance, select location, and gateway address space, that is necessary for connecting to your on-prem environment. Make sure that these IP addresses are not already in use, to allow seamless network traffic.

Provision Nodes and create Private Cloud

Nodes are core resources and central computing units, and they have dedicated computer hosts. Minimum 3 nodes are needed when provisioning service initially. Depending on the workload and your business needs, you select one of the two-node types: CS28 or CS36. You also enter some necessary information like node name, count and location. With all the info added, you can proceed with the creation of your Private Cloud. On the next “Create Private Cloud” page, add the name of your cloud, then configure networking space for your VMware environment. After this step, Azure start with deployment for your Private Cloud, which can take up to several hours to complete.

Configure VPN connection between On-premise and Azure Cloud

Though you can configure Point-to-Site VPN, ExpressRoute is the recommended way of connecting to your Private Cloud. ExpressRoute provides a direct dedicated link to Azure with high speed and low latency.

Access vCenter

You can use a single console to manage your entire VMware infrastructure, both On-premise and Cloud vSphere environments. Easily migrate virtual machines, configure policies, and monitor your entire infrastructure.

Conclusion

As with every IaaS offering, you are paying only resources that you use, so you do not have any initial investment in service as you would have in case you wanted to expand your infrastructure locally. As for Azure VMware Solutions, the billing cycle is monthly. Azure VMware Solution is compliant with all common security and industry standards and certainly has its place among Azure IaaS offering. If you need to quickly expand your infrastructure to cloud without having to bother with hardware purchase, complex setup afterwards, and still to have that familiar management interface for your infrastructure, this option is worth your consideration.

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