VMware to Azure Migration: Looking to move?

Following the acquisition of VMWare and some major changes at the company, many organisations are considering their options, including migrating to other providers.

What changes are taking place at VMware?

Global technology company Broadcom acquired VMware in November 2023 in a $69 billion deal.

Before VMware’s acquisition, you could purchase perpetual licences for VMware’s hypervisor product, vSphere. A perpetual licence is where you purchase a one-time licence for a specific version of a product, which you could then use forever.

VMware also allowed you to purchase support subscriptions separately, which provided support for your perpetual licences.

However, Broadcom have now decided to ditch perpetual software licencing for vSphere and only offer a subscription model to customers. They also don’t allow you to purchase support separately anymore, which is now only available as part of the main licence subscription. Previously, VMware offered “support and subscription (SnS)” contracts, which meant if you purchased a specific version of vSphere with SnS on top, you’d also get access to future releases and software updates.

Broadcom also announced they will stop offering the free version of VSphere, which they have marked EOGA (End of General Availability), and will also move it to a paid subscription.

Another notable change is that VMware’s End User Compute division is being divested and sold to another company called KKR. This means the products, such as VMware Horizon, the virtual desktop product that competes with Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), will now be owned by a different company.

Why are companies considering migrating from VMware?

Whether you agree with these changes or not, the unpopular reality is that they are resulting in increased and unexpected costs for many companies that rely on VMware products. Therefore, many companies are now considering their options, which include migration from VMware to alternative hypervisor or virtual desktop solutions.

For large organisations that are heavily reliant on VMware for large numbers of VMs, moving away to another hypervisor provider is not something they can necessarily do quickly or easily. It could take anywhere between one and three years, depending on the scale of their migration plans and complexity. Therefore, it’s likely they will be stung with increased costs from the licensing required to tie them over in the meantime.

Migrating from VMware to Azure

For those organisations considering migrating from VMware to another provider, Microsoft Azure is one of the potential options for several reasons:

  • Like any public cloud, using Azure means that you’re not responsible for the underlying hypervisors and the physical hardware. Microsoft takes care of this, meaning you don’t need to worry about the underlying specifications of the physical hypervisors and how to best distribute this between your hypervisor hosts.
  • If you have a large number of Windows Servers, you may be able to use Azure Hybrid Benefit to remove operating system licensing costs for the VMs in Azure.
  • You can make significant savings (up to 70%) by committing to a 3-year reservation. A reservation, also known as Reserved Instance, is where you commit to a VM, or multiple VMs of a certain size for a 1 or 3-year period. In return, Microsoft offers significant cost savings on the compute costs.
  • You may be able to modernise your infrastructure further, using items such as Azure Virtual Desktop, Azure Backup, and Azure Site Recovery.
  • You’ll likely be able to utilise significantly more compute, storage and networking capability than you can currently.

Support with VMware to Azure migration

If you’re considering migrating from VMware to Microsoft Azure, this is something we can help with.

We can provide cost assessments and sizing estimates for your virtual machines. Based on the number of VMs you want to run in Azure, we can recommend which size of VM you should use, the optimum disk type, and the best backup and disaster recovery (DR) options etc., giving you an overall cost estimate.

We can also help optimise your Azure costs. We can run Azure Migrate on your systems for 30 days, enabling us to understand your requirements and VM usage patterns, including things such as peaks and troughs in compute. We’ll provide you with a comprehensive report and our recommended cost efficiency measures for your unique situation. This might include measures such as auto stop/start, which means things are automatically turned off when they aren’t needed, and only turned on when they are needed—potentially saving you significant compute costs.

If you decide to move your VMs to Azure, we can also help you with migration. We use Azure Migrate and Azure Site Recovery to move your virtual machines from VMware to Azure. We take a proof-of-concept approach, where we initially migrate a subset of your virtual machines into Azure, which you can then test thoroughly before proceeding with the next steps towards a full migration. This helps give you confidence with the process and we’ll work with you throughout as we gradually migrate more VMs through a phased approach. We work with you to understand your VMs and any co-dependencies. This helps us form a migration plan with you, as no one understands your VM estate better than you, and we’ll discuss each step with you along the way.

Moving from VMware Horizon to Azure Virtual Desktop

As mentioned previously, VMware’s End User Compute division has been purchased by KKR from Broadcom following a divestment.

Therefore, we know that it’s going to become its own standalone company, but it’s not yet clear what that means for those virtual desktop products and their support.

If you’re considering Azure Virtual Desktop as a potential solution, we can support you with this.

Next steps

If you’re considering moving from VMware and considering Microsoft’s solutions, get in touch with Chorus to speak with one of our consultants, who will be happy to discuss this with you further.