In the early 2000s, before the arrival of Hyper-V, I learned how to run multiple servers on one piece of hardware using VMware Workstation. This gave our small organisation a level of local redundancy, running two internal clustered Lotus Domino Servers on one machine and two external-facing Lotus Domino Servers on another piece of hardware. We also use it to spin up different versions of Lotus Domino Server depending on which customer project we were working on.
Fast forward several years and VMware is not only still a strong presence in the virtualization space, Microsoft has partnered with them for our Azure VMware Solution (AVS).
Azure VMware Solution provides you with private clouds that contain vSphere clusters, built from dedicated bare-metal Azure infrastructure. Included and fully licensed are VMware vCenter Server, vSAN, vSphere, and NSX-T. Microsoft provides the lifecycle management of both the VMware software and the NSX-T appliances, keeping you one software version within the latest release form VMware. For more information visit Host maintenance and lifecycle management.
AVS supports both Azure Hybrid Use Benefits and free extended security updates for Windows Server 2008/R2 and SQL Server 2008/R2 workloads, while also giving your workloads access to Azure services like Log Analytics, Logic Apps, Azure Security Center, Azure Backup, Azure Traffic Manager and more.
The introduction module gives you an overview of the solution architecture and the benefits of using AVS. It includes a breakdown of the shared responsibility model particular to the deployment, life-cycle and configuration of the VMware software, explaining what Microsoft is responsible for and what the customer is responsible for.
The deployment module lists the factors to evaluate before your deployment, such as minimum and maximum number of hosts, clusters and nodes, eligible subscription types and eligible regions. It covers using Azure Migrate for a pre-deployment assessment of your existing on-premises workloads. And it explains the ExpressRoute and network requirements.
It then walks you through the steps to deploy AVS in Azure, connect an on-premises VMware vSphere environment, and configure the NSX-T network components. While not an interactive exercise, the steps are detailed and include screenshots.
The migrate module focusses on VMware HCX, the abstraction layer used for VM migrations with minimal downtime. I really liked the detailed explanation of HCX, its capabilities and requirements. Again there are detailed steps and screenshots on how to run a migration, with VMware concepts like site pairs, network profiles, compute profiles and service mesh.
HCX Cloud Manager in Azure VMware Solution paired with an on-premises VMware HCX Connector