Table of Contents:
Understanding Azure VMware Solution (AVS)
Prerequisites for Migrating to Azure VMware Solution
6 Steps to Migrating to Azure VMware Solution (AVS)
Post-Migration Considerations
Migrate to Azure VMware Solution (AVS) with Cloud4C
Frequently Asked Questions

 

For years, businesses have relied on VMware's trusted virtualization platform to power their mission-critical workloads on-prem. IT teams have become intimately familiar with the nuances of vSphere, vSAN, and NSX, and significant investments have been made in building robust VMware infrastructures. However, as the world around accelerates its pace of innovation, the question arises – is it time to embrace the boundless possibilities of the cloud?

Enter the Azure VMware Solution (AVS), a compelling choice for organizations seeking to leverage the scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency of cloud while maintaining their existing VMware investments. This blog acts as a guide to a comprehensive step-by-step process for migrating workloads to the Azure VMware Solution or extending the existing VMware environment to the Azure cloud at no friction. Let us explore. 

Understanding Azure VMware Solution

Before diving into the migration process, it is crucial to grasp the core concept of Azure VMware Solution.  

Essentially, AVS is a fully managed service that allows running VMware workloads natively on Microsoft Azure. By leveraging VMware Cloud Foundation, Azure VMware Solution provides a familiar VMware environment, including vSphere, vSAN, NSX-T, and more, enabling a smooth transition to the cloud without the need for refactoring applications or retraining personnel. This means that your existing VMware skills, tools, and processes can be seamlessly transferred to the cloud, minimizing the learning curve and ensuring business continuity. 

One of the key benefits of Azure VMware Solution is its ability to support hybrid cloud scenarios, allowing organizations to seamlessly extend their on-premises VMware environments to the cloud. This allows workload mobility, disaster recovery, and burst capacity scenarios, providing greater flexibility and resilience for the IT infrastructure. 

The Hybrid Cloud Powerhouse: Introduction to Azure VMware Solutions (AVS)
Read More

 

Migrating to Azure VMware Solution: Prerequisites and Planning 

1. Assess the Current Environment

Thoroughly assess the existing VMware environment, taking inventory of virtual machines (VMs), applications, dependencies, and resource requirements. Use tools like VMware vCenter Server, vRealize Operations Manager, or third-party assessment tools.

2. Determine Migration Strategy

Based on the assessment, choose the appropriate migration strategy:

  • Lift-and-Shift: Migrate VMs as-is using solutions like Azure Migrate.
  • Rehost: Migrate and optimize VMs for the cloud using Azure Migrate or VM replication tools.
  • Refactor: Modify applications to leverage cloud-native services using tools like Azure Migrate and Azure DevOps.

3. Plan for Networking and Connectivity

Assess networking requirements and plan the connectivity between on-premises and cloud environments. Here, the options include ExpressRoute, Site-to-Site VPN, or Azure Virtual WAN. Consider virtual network peering and internet access requirements. 

4. Consider Backup and Disaster Recovery

Plan for backup and disaster recovery by integrating with solutions like Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery, or third-party solutions compatible with Azure VMware Solution.

Migrating Workloads to Azure VMware Solution: 6 Important Steps

1. Provision Azure VMware Solution

Begin the migration process by provisioning the Azure VMware Solution in the desired Azure region. This process involves creating a private cloud, configuring networking, and deploying the necessary VMware components like vCenter Server, NSX-T Manager, and SDDC Manager. During this step, also define the compute, storage, and network resources required for the workloads, ensuring that the Azure VMware Solution environment is properly sized and configured to meet specific needs.

2. Establish Connectivity

Set up connectivity between the on-premises environment and the Azure VMware Solution. This can be achieved through various options, such as Site-to-Site VPN, depending on the requirements. Configure necessary routing and firewall rules to ensure secure and efficient communication.

3. Configure Networking

Configure networking within the Azure VMware Solution, including creating logical networks (VXLANs), distributed port groups, and firewall rules using NSX-T Manager. Align networking configuration with the on-premises setup to ensure seamless communication between the workloads and minimize disruptions during the migration process.

4. Migrate Workloads

With connectivity and networking in place, initiate the migration of workloads to the Azure VMware Solution. Leverage migration tools like VMware HCX for vMotion-based migration, Azure Migrate for replication-based migration, or manual migrations using OVA/OVF templates or backups. Choose the appropriate tool based on the migration strategy and workload requirements.

During the migration process, it is essential to carefully plan and coordinate the cutover to minimize downtime and ensure a smooth transition. Consider migrating non-critical workloads first, followed by more critical workloads once the migration process is validated and any issues are resolved.

5. Test and Validate

After migrating workloads, thoroughly test and validate their functionality within the Azure VMware Solution environment. Ensure that applications, databases, and services are running as expected and that all dependencies are properly configured. Conduct performance testing, user acceptance testing, and any other necessary validations to ensure that the migrated workloads meet all business requirements and service level agreements (SLAs).

6. Optimize and Monitor

Once the workloads are successfully migrated, optimize them for the cloud environment by leveraging Azure services like Azure Monitor, Azure Automation, and Azure Cost Management. Continuously monitor resources, performance, and costs to identify potential areas for improvement. Implement automated monitoring and alerting systems to proactively detect and resolve issues, ensuring the availability and performance of the workloads on the cloud. 

Want to know about Azure VMware Solution pricing and cost management?
Read More


Post-Migration Considerations

1. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Implement a robust disaster recovery and business continuity plan leveraging Azure VMware Solution's integration with various backup and disaster recovery solutions. Options include Azure Site Recovery, or third-party solutions compatible with Azure VMware Solution. Regular testing is required to ensure seamless operations in case of unexpected events. 

A Comprehensive Guide to Microsoft Azure Disaster Recovery 
Read More


2. Security and Compliance

Ensure that the migrated workloads comply with industry standards and regulatory requirements. Azure VMware Solution provides advanced security features, including network segmentation, encryption, and role-based access control (RBAC), to help maintain a secure and compliant environment. Implementing security best practices, such as least privilege access, multi-factor authentication, and regular security patching and updates, can further protect workloads on the cloud.

3. Automation and DevOps

Embrace automation and DevOps practices to streamline operations and enhance efficiency within the Azure VMware Solution environment. Leveraging tools like Azure Automation, Azure DevOps, and Azure PowerShell to automate tasks, streamline deployments, and enable continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines is ideal. Automating even the routine tasks such as VM provisioning, patching, and scaling can help reduce manual effort and improve consistency and reliability.

4. Continuous Post Monitoring

Continuously monitor workloads, resource utilization, and costs within the Azure VMware Solution. By leveraging Azure monitoring and analytics services like Azure Monitor and Azure Cost Management businesses can gain insights, identify bottlenecks, and optimize environments for improved performance and cost-effectiveness.

5. Skill Development and Training

Invest in upskilling the team by leveraging training resources and certifications offered by Microsoft and VMware. Ensure proficiency in managing and optimizing workloads within the Azure VMware Solution environment.

6. Embrace Cloud-native Services

As Azure VMware Solution (AVS) allows running VMware workloads natively on the cloud, embracing cloud-native services offered by Azure opens additional benefits and capabilities. Services like Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), Azure Functions, Azure App Service, and Azure Data Services can help modernize applications, improve scalability, and leverage the power of the cloud.

Seamlessly Migrate to Azure VMware Solution with Cloud4C's Expertise

Migrating to Azure VMware Solution is a complex process that requires meticulous planning and execution, but with the right cloud managed partner, this transition may not be such a daunting task.

Cloud4C, a trusted Microsoft Gold Partner and Azure Expert Managed Services Provider, offers comprehensive migration and managed services tailored for Azure VMware Solution. Our team of certified experts can guide you through every step of the migration process, ensuring a smooth transition while minimizing risks and downtime. From assessment and planning to execution and optimization, Cloud4C provides end-to-end support, enabling businesses to focus on the core business while we take care of your cloud infrastructure.  

Leverage our expertise in areas such as migration planning, cloud architecture design, hyperautomation and DevOps, security and compliance, and cost optimization to maximize the benefits of the Azure VMware Solution. Whether you're looking to migrate, modernize, or optimize your cloud environment, we’re here for it all.

Wish to know more? Contact us today. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What is the difference between VMware and Azure VM?

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    Azure VMs are cloud-based, offering scalability and virtualization, ideal for organizations needing flexibility. VMware VMs are on-premises, using VMware's software stack for virtualization. Azure focuses on cloud services integration, while VMware excels in traditional infrastructure deployment. Azure also follows a pay-as-you-go model, while VMware typically uses perpetual licenses.

  • Where do you deploy VMs in Azure?

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    In Azure VMware Solution (AVS), VMs are deployed within the private cloud environment, a fully managed VMware infrastructure hosted on Azure. The private cloud consists of VMware vSphere clusters built on dedicated Azure bare-metal, enabling users to leverage familiar VMware tools to manage and run VMs, facilitating a smooth migration and hybrid cloud strategy.

  • Is Azure VM free?

    -

    Yes, Azure offers free virtual machines (VMs) as part of its Azure free account. New users can get 750 hours of free usage per month for 12 months on select VM sizes, including Windows and Linux VMs. Users can explore Azure's VM capabilities without incurring any upfront charges, making it suitable for learning and testing purposes. Get personalized recommendations and best practices for Azure by a managed cloud service provider like Cloud4C.

  • Can you migrate on-premises vSphere VMs to Azure VMware Solution?

    -

    Yes, absolutely. Standard Virtual Machine migration methods, such as vMotion, can be utilized to move virtual machines from on-premises environment to Azure private cloud. The virtual machines must meet the regular requirements for vMotion migration, similar to migrating within the data center.

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Team Cloud4C
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