Microsoft Targets Amazon, VMware With Tool For Migrating Cloud Workloads To Azure

Microsoft wants customers running Windows Server workloads on Amazon Web Services and VMware to give its Azure cloud a try, and it recently debuted a tool aimed at speeding the transition.

Microsoft’s Migration Accelerator for Azure, currently in limited preview, automates the process of migrating Windows Server workloads from VMware and AWS environments into Azure, Srinath Vasireddy, principal lead program manager in Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise division, said in a Sept. 4 blog post.

Migration Accelerator automates some of the heavy lifting that typically accompanies cloud migrations, including discovering on-premise workloads, remotely installing agent software and configuring networks and endpoints, Vasireddy said.

[Related: Microsoft Acquires InMage To Enables Disaster Recovery On Azure Cloud]

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Migration Accelerator can also move multi-tier apps running on-premise and all their dependencies, into the Azure public cloud, Vasireddy said.

’With [Migration Accelerator], you reduce cost and risk of your migration project,’ Vasireddy said in the blog post.

Microsoft, which is competing with AWS, VMware and others in the infrastructure-as-a-service space, hopes to lure customers away from rivals by removing the technical and financial barriers from the equation.

Alex Brown, CEO at 10th Magnitude, a Chicago-based Microsoft Azure partner that has been testing the Migration Accelerator tool, told CRN he’s seeing interest from large customers that have been hesitant about using the public cloud.

Brown said Migration Accelerator significantly speeds cloud migrations, which are notoriously time-consuming.

’This reduces a huge perceived barrier to people migrating some of their operations to the cloud, and makes the whole process easier and more seamless,’ he said.

Complex application and server configurations can lead to high consulting services costs for customers, but Migration Accelerator saves money by automating the discovery process, said Jason Sauers, founder and director of connected systems at Phidiax, a Denver- based Microsoft Azure partner.

"The MA tool is mature enough to discover, migrate, handle endpoint re-configuration and manage heterogeneous platforms. For clients, this means a quicker return on investment when choosing Azure infrastructure-as-a-service," Sauers said in an email.

Migration Accelerator is based on technology from Microsoft’s acquisition of cloud storage vendor InMage, which was announced in July and also brought disaster recovery technology. Microsoft is in the process of integrating InMage’s Scout backup and replication software with its Azure Site Recovery service.

’MA for Azure provides full-system replication including the OS and application data,’ Vasireddy said. ’This continuous replication and in-memory change tracking reduces the cutover time to mere minutes, minimizing impact to product workloads.’

While Microsoft is pitching Migration Accelerator as a carrot for getting existing customers to use Azure, others are using cloud management as a competitive tool.

Amazon rolled out in June AWS Management Portal for vCenter, a tool that lets VMware admins manage virtual machines running on Amazon EC2 using the same software they use to manage virtual machines on private clouds.