Organizations today are changing how they run their businesses to ensure safety and efficiency. As we work closely with our customers, their top priorities include optimizing business costs, scaling for a remote workforce, and ensuring business continuity. As a result, cloud migration remains a priority and partners play a critical role.

To support your cloud migration projects, we are committed to solutions that optimize costs, scale efficiencies, and bring unmatched security and compliance. We have amazing offers, like Azure Hybrid Benefit, reserved instances, and free extended security updates to help our customers save money. Azure also delivers the lowest total cost of ownership for Windows Server and SQL Server workloads, with up to 3x better performance over AWS (GigaOm*).

We are also seeing increasing adoption of specialized workloads like the Azure VMware Solution as customers look to migrate their entire IT estate to Azure. Lastly, Azure does all of this while remaining flexible, so customers can extend their on-premises investments and leverage them as they move to the cloud. The new Azure Stack HCI preview is one example that we just announced.

Today, we’re sharing new Azure services that help accelerate migration.

Leverage new Azure infrastructure services to migrate workloads efficiently

Meeting your business and budget needs continues to be a priority. Migrate your customers’ mission and business critical workloads with confidence by taking advantage of new compute capabilities. For example, new Azure VMs, featuring Intel 2nd generation Intel Xeon Platinum (Cascade Lake) processors, for general purpose and memory intensive workloads are now available. These VMs series offer up to 20 percent greater CPU performance and better overall price-per-core performance compared to the prior generation. We also introduced a new category of VMs—currently in preview—which lowers the price of entry since it does not include a local temporary disk.

In addition, the AMD EPYC™-based Dav4 and Eav4 Azure Virtual Machine series, which provides increased scalability (up to 96vCPUs), are now generally available in additional regions. With these new VM sizes, you can benefit from a greater range in underlying processor technologies. Choose the best solution for your customers, all while increasing cost-effectiveness and achieve significant run-time acceleration.

Along with Azure Virtual Machines, innovations in block storage expand Azure capabilities even further, enabling customers to migrate more workloads and applications to the cloud in a seamless way. With shared disks (now generally available), Azure Disk Storage allows partners to easily migrate customers’ on-premises clustered applications like SQL Server Failover Cluster Instances (FCI) and enterprise applications running on on-premises Storage Area Network (SAN). Benefit from increased disk storage security with Azure Private Links integration (preview), allowing you to transfer data securely over a virtual private network (VPN). Plus, improved flexibility with the ability to increase disk performance independent of size (preview) helps you meet your workload needs and reduce costs.

One of our partners, Pure Storage, is leveraging shared disks to build their own cloud native solution, Cloud Block Store for Azure (currently in beta preview), to help their customers migrate mission-critical applications to Azure. Additionally, benefit from increased disk storage security with Azure Private Links integration, allowing you to transfer data securely over a virtual private network.

Optimizing and addressing the scalability of remote connectivity continues to be top of mind for our partners and customers. Since we announced transit capabilities with Azure Virtual WAN as the first in the public cloud back in 2018, the interest to take advantage of Azure when building branch networks has grown rapidly. To provide the flexibility that our customers need, last week we announced the ability to host third-party network virtual appliances within the Virtual WAN hubs (in preview). Barracuda is the first Virtual WAN partner to bring the advantage of this deep integration allowing customers to take advantage of the Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SDWAN) to improve performance while taking advantage of existing investments and skills.

Additionally, independent software vendors (ISVs) working on optimized and scalable applications connected to 5G networks can now use the new Los Angeles preview location of Azure Edge Zones with AT&T when building and experimenting with ultra-low latency platforms, mobile, and connected scenarios. Register for the early adopter program to take advantage of secure, high-bandwidth connectivity.

Microsoft continues to leverage partnerships to make Azure the number one choice for migrating specialized workloads and business applications. With the new generation of Azure VMware Solution, Microsoft provides a first-party service to ensure greater quality, reliability, and innovation for running VMware natively on Azure. Through Microsoft’s partnership with VMware, Azure has built a seamless integration between VMware applications with Azure. Extend or migrate existing on-premises VMware workloads to Azure without the cost, effort, or risk of re-architecting applications or retooling operations. As a result, customers can gain cloud efficiency and modernize applications over time with Azure services.

Help your customers optimize costs and migrate with confidence

Cloud migration can be a huge project, but we’re here to simplify the journey. Microsoft is continuously upgrading its migration services so you can take advantage of first-class tooling and support. New capabilities in Azure Migrate, Microsoft’s hub of tools for datacenter assessment and migration, help accelerate the journey more than ever. Discover virtual and physical servers running on your customer’s on-premises environment by using the lightweight Azure Migrate appliance, or by importing inventory information through a CSV upload. Better understand dependencies between discovered servers so you can gather machines into groups and minimize risk during migration. After, use Azure Migrate to migrate the server groups to Azure without downtime.

Kainos, a UK-based Microsoft partner, utilized Azure Migrate as the key tool for helping their customer, The Pensions Regulator (TPR), rapidly migrate to Azure from a legacy datacenter facing decommission. After using Azure Migrate to run a full discovery and assess TPR’s datacenter, Kainos consolidated TPR’s server estate and migrated 300 servers to Azure. Because of the comprehensive assessment, no issues arose during the migration. Kainos was able to reduce TPR’s hosting costs significantly while providing TPR with greater control in the cloud than they had with their legacy system.

For additional migration support, including guidance on migration services like Azure Migrate and more, nominate customers to the Azure Migration Program (AMP). The program provides free and subsidized Azure technical training, partner funding, and support from Microsoft’s verified partners with Azure Expert MSP certification or Advanced Specializations, and the opportunity to collaborate with FastTrack for Azure engineers and Microsoft Specialists. AMP supports migration scenarios across infrastructure, data, and applications to address the breadth of customer needs.

Based on customer demand, we’re adding two new scenarios to AMP:

  • Migrating on-premises Virtual Desktop Infrastructure to Windows Virtual Desktop.
  • Migrating on-premises .NET web apps to Azure App Service/Azure SQL.

Partners find AMP to be a true accelerator in advancing their customers’ cloud journey—check out how Crayon helped accelerate Tine’s datacenter migration efforts through AMP.

Learn more

Through Azure infrastructure offerings, workload partnerships, and services, migrations have gathered tremendous momentum in the past year. Check out Azure Migration Center for updated resources and direction on everything migration, and nominate your customers for AMP today.


*Price-performance claims based on data from a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by GigaOm in February 2020. The study compared price performance between SQL Server 2019 Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition in Azure E32as_v4 instance type with P30 Premium SSD Disks and the SQL Server 2019 Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition in AWS EC2 r5a.8xlarge instance type with General Purpose (gp2) volumes. Benchmark data is taken from a GigaOm Analytic Field Test derived from a recognized industry standard, TPC Benchmark™ E (TPC-E). The Field Test does not implement the full TPC-E benchmark and as such is not comparable to any published TPC-E benchmarks. Prices are based on publicly available US pricing in West US for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines and Northern California for AWS EC2 as of January 2020. The pricing incorporates three-year reservations for Azure and AWS compute pricing, and Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server and Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and License Mobility for SQL Server in AWS, excluding Software Assurance costs. Actual results and prices may vary based on configuration and region.