Microsoft’s Azure VMware Solution finds a place across multiple use cases, says MSP

In January, Microsoft introduced the Azure VMware Solution (AVS) in Canada and according to one of its early adopters, AVS is proving its worth quickly.

“Azure VMware Solution’s value shows up in a few ways, and it’s often about time to value and skills that people have within their organization,” said Craig McQueen, vice-president of innovation at solution provider Softchoice.

AVS provides clients with private clouds containing vSphere clusters built from bare-metal Azure infrastructure. Microsoft says the minimum initial deployment is three hosts, but more can be added – but only one at a time – up to a maximum of 16 hosts per cluster. The provisioned private clouds run vCenter Server, vSAN, vSphere, and NSX-T, and admins can migrate workloads from an on-premises environment, deploy new virtual machines, and consume other Azure services.

The high-end hosts have 576-GB RAM and dual Intel 18 core, 2.3-GHz processors. The HE hosts have two vSAN diskgroups with 15.36 TB (SSD) of raw vSAN capacity tier and a 3.2 TB (NVMe) vSAN cache tier. New private clouds are deployed through the Azure portal or Azure CLI.

AVS for disaster recovery

McQueen says organizations that don’t have the necessary Azure skills to run workloads in the cloud but need to make a shift are quickly choosing to migrate their VMware workloads to AVS. McQueen says Softchoice has been engaged with several Canadian financial institutions, one of which has “hundreds” of Microsoft SQL Servers running on ageing hardware. The bank wants to move them somewhere more “maintainable.”

“Azure is a good way to do that, but they wanted to do it fairly quickly. The AVS solution is a good candidate for them to take the SQL workloads and move them to Azure,” he explained.

While the solution is still relatively new, particularly in Canada, Henrik Gütle, general manager for Microsoft Azure at Microsoft Canada states they’re working with businesses across industries, including technology and telecommunications, retail, energy and manufacturing.

“We’re also seeing businesses use a VMware stack deployed in Azure as a primary or secondary on-demand disaster recovery site to ensure business continuity should anything happen,” he wrote in an email.

Microsoft published a notice on its website on March 5, saying Azure VMware Solutions will apply patches to ESXi in existing private clouds to VMware ESXi 6.7, Patch Release ESXi670-202011002 through March 15, 2021.

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Alex Coop
Alex Coop
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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