Microsoft Targeting VMware Customers with Azure Licensing Change

Microsoft this week updated its licensing options in hopes to increase VMware users to migrate to Azure.  

The incentive is aimed at current users of VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF), a private cloud product. VCF customers who want to migrate to Microsoft's Azure cloud platform -- specifically, by buying into Microsoft's Azure VMware Solution -- will be able to port their existing licenses over, enabling a relatively frictionless migration to Microsoft's cloud.

Microsoft and VMware owner Broadcom announced the license portability offer in a joint announcement on Thursday.

"Customers that own or purchase licenses for [VCF] will be able to use those licenses on Azure VMware Solution, as well as their own datacenters, giving them flexibility to meet changing business needs," the announcement read. "Customers can currently purchase the [Azure VMware Solution from Microsoft] with VMware licenses included, and this option will continue to be available for customers that prefer to purchase their VMware licenses as part of their solution from Microsoft."

The offer is not yet live; it will become available "later this year," per Microsoft and Broadcom's announcement.

The move to support VCF licenses is part of Microsoft's ongoing effort to court VMware customers left in limbo by the Broadcom acquisition, which was finalized in late 2023. Once it acquired VMware, Broadcom decided to end perpetual licensing for the majority of its products, putting many organizations' budgets and infrastructure plans in tumult -- and raising hackles while doing so.

Sensing opportunity, Microsoft has been touting its Azure VMware Solution as an escape hatch for existing VMware customers.

Supported in 33 markets, Azure VMware Solution launched in 2019 as a Microsoft-developed and VMware-backed service that lets enterprises run VMware workloads on Azure with little refactoring required. Once on Azure, VMware customers can tap into the myriad services available through Microsoft's cloud, as well as its scalability and compute benefits.

Earlier in May, Microsoft launched the VMware Rapid Migration Plan, an offering that fast-tracks VMware customers' migration to the Azure VMware Solution, complete with limited-time pricing perks.

Giving VCF customers maximum licensing mobility to Azure just sweetens Microsoft's pot further. The announcement explained the benefits to VMware customers this way:

With improved license portability for customers with eligible VMware Cloud Foundation entitlements, customers will be able to purchase subscriptions of the new VMware Cloud Foundation software and have complete mobility to and from their on-premises environment to Azure VMware Solution. VMware customers that have already purchased and begun deploying the new VMware Cloud Foundation will be able to transfer the remaining value of an existing subscription to Azure VMware Solution. Additionally, customers will be able to move their VMware Cloud Foundation subscription between on-premises and Azure VMware Solution as their needs and requirements evolve over time. Customers will retain the rights to their software subscription when moving their VMware Cloud Foundation subscription to Azure VMware Solution.

VMware customers looking to take advantage of the offer are directed to reach out to a Microsoft partner or their VMware account contact.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.


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