· Microsoft Azure Migrate is a free tool, launching Nov. 27th, that will make it easy for VMware customers to bring their applications to the cloud.
· It'll help boost Microsoft's big advantage versus Amazon in the cloud war: Microsoft's wealth of experience selling to even the largest businesses.
On Tuesday, Microsoft is expected to unveil Azure Migrate — a free tool to make it easy for customers to bring their existing applications and data from their own servers up into the Microsoft Azure supercomputing cloud.
At its November 27th launch, Azure Migrate will support shunting up VMware-based applications. VMware is very popular in the Fortune 500 and beyond, giving Azure Migrate a broad audience right off the bat. And it fits well with Microsoft's big cloud edge, which is that it has so much experience selling into even the largest businesses.
The Microsoft Azure cloud, like its key rival at Amazon Web Services, gives customers access to fundamentally unlimited supercomputing power on a pay-as-you-go basis. Large and small companies alike are drawn to these so-called "public clouds" for the cost-savings and performance improvements they often bring.
There are other cloud migration tools on the market, including from startups like Racemi and Cloudreach. However, Microsoft's Corey Sanders, head of product for Azure Compute, tells Business Insider that where other solutions bring over one server at a time, Azure Migrate brings over a whole bunch at once.
That's clutch, says Sanders, because modern applications are a hodgepodge of different servers, running different pieces of the application all at once.
"There are no applications that consist of a single server," says Sanders.
Once the data is actually moved over, Sanders says that Microsoft provides tools for "rightsizing," or precisely managing your usage of the Microsoft Azure cloud. With proper rightsizing, says Sanders, some customers are saving 84% versus the costs of keeping their VMware infrastructure running in their data center.
And if a customer isn't ready to fully use the Azure cloud, Microsoft is also unveiling a service where, essentially, Microsoft will run their VMware infrastructure in its own data centers. It's not formally a part of the Azure cloud, meaning you lose out on some of the scalability. But it means the customer doesn't have to keep data centers.
For Microsoft, the strategic imperative behind Azure Migrate is multifaceted. First, there's the obvious: Making it easy for companies to go up to the Azure cloud could result in more companies using the Azure cloud. Notably, VMware itself wasn't consulted to build this tool, says Sanders, meaning this isn't an official partnership.
The other thing, though, is that Microsoft is a big fan of the so-called "hybrid cloud," whereby companies keep some of their software and data in Azure, and some of their software and data in their own servers. Sanders points out that Azure Migrate lets companies bring over some, but not necessarily all, of their software — meaning that, down the line and at their own pace, they could adopt that hybrid cloud model.
As for the future, Sanders says that Azure Migrate won't necessarily stay a VMware-specific tool, and that the company is listening to customer demand. The overall goal, says Sanders, is to make sure that Azure stays as business-friendly as possible.
"Azure is the choice for enterprises," says Sanders.