Dell Technologies plays matchmaker in birthing new Microsoft Azure-VMware partnership

Longtime Microsoft partner collaborator Dell Technologies kicked off their event by bringing VMware together with Microsoft to announce a partnership between two organizations who have not been close chums historically.

Nadella, Dell and Gelsinger onstage

LAS VEGAS – On Monday, during the opening keynote at Dell Technologies World, Dell and Microsoft jointly announced an extension of their long-standing partnership. This involves bringing Microsoft together with VMware, which although primarily owned by Dell, has not been aligned with Microsoft historically. Through this new partnership, the three companies will deliver a fully native, supported, and certified VMware cloud infrastructure on Microsoft Azure. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella joined Dell Technologies CEO Michael Dell and VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger onstage to make the announcement.

“In my close to 30 years of working in technology, I’ve never seen a trend like digital transformation in the way that it is so core to innovation,” Nadella said. “It’s just phenomenal to see that. What’s needed to fuel that is great infrastructure. I’m really thrilled and pleased to announce the availability of Azure VMware Solutions. This brings all those VMware capabilities to Azure so that customers have the best of VMware and the best of Azure.”

The Azure VMware Solutions will give customers the power to seamlessly migrate, extend and run existing VMware workloads from on-premises environments to Azure without the need to re-architect applications or retool operations.  Customers will be able to build, run, manage, and secure new and existing applications across VMware environments and Microsoft Azure while extending a single model for operations based on established tools, skills and processes as part of a hybrid cloud strategy.

“We have been hearing from you on multi-cloud and the importance of choice and flexibility there,” Dell said. “With this, we are able to bring VMware Cloud Foundation into Azure. Our customers are excited about that. With this extension of our Microsoft partnership, with Dell Technologies Unified Workspace, and VMware Cloud on Dell EMC, we have the ability across all technologies to enable our customers’ digital futures.”

“This Microsoft announcement is a big deal,” Gelsinger said. “While VMware Cloud Foundation brings storage management and compute together effectively,  customers have told us that they want a hybrid cloud solution, so this partnership with Microsoft is  exciting for our mutual customers. It is a resolution of a long-standing conflict between VMware and Microsoft.”

Joyce Mullen, President, Global Channel, OEM and IOT Solutions, said that this resolution was a logical culmination of customer pressure

“We saw some movement from VMware on that with AWS a year ago, and then with AliBaba,” she said. “It’s not a fight about on-prem or off-prem any more. So why don’t we make it easy to make it easier for customers to work with whatever cloud that they want. Part of making it easier is that they don’t have to pick a side.”

It’s not exactly a full-blown alliance between the two, however. The new service will be sold only by Microsoft and its partners. VMware’s relationship with AWS remains the most important one within their cloud strategy.  VMware can legitimately claim, however, that this is a significant extension of their hybrid cloud strategy and capabilities.

“These new Azure VMware solutions are a Microsoft-offered service,” Gelsinger noted. “We continue to have our Amazon relationship as our preferred VMware-offered service.

“Our Amazon partnership is robust and growing rapidly,” he added later.

Some of the more popular customer scenarios Azure VMware Solutions will support are app migration and datacenter expansion, disaster recovery and business continuity and modern application development.

In addition, joint Microsoft 365 and VMware Workspace ONE customers will be able to manage Office 365 across devices via cloud-based integration with Microsoft Intune and Azure Active Directory. VMware  will also extend the capabilities of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop leveraging VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure.

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