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VMware Cloud

VMware on Azure: One-Step Migration to the Cloud

How Can You Run VMware on Azure?

Azure’s VMware Solution is based on the VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF), a software-defined framework providing virtualized compute, networking, and management capabilities. VCF is deployed in the Azure data center and integrated with Azure services. This enables Azure users to leverage existing VMware tools and technologies on the global Microsoft Azure infrastructure.

Azure VMware Solutions provides a fast path to Azure migration, letting you migrate or extend existing VMware workloads to Azure directly from your on-premises environment. You can easily build and run applications and run them in an on-premise VMware environment or on Microsoft Azure, with familiar VMware tools and processes.

Seamless integration with Azure services provides the ability to develop and modernize cloud capabilities over time. Familiarize yourself with local VMware tools and management expertise and gradually understand Azure features as needed.

If you are also interested in running VMware resources on other clouds, see our guides to:

In this article, you will learn:

Azure VMware Solution Concepts

The Azure VMware Solution is based on three hierarchical levels which organize the virtualized environment: private clouds, clusters, and vSAN clusters.

Private Clouds

A private cloud contains vSAN clusters based on a dedicated Azure physical machine. You can use the same vCenter Server and NSX-T Manager to manage multiple private cloud clusters. Private clouds can be configured and managed via the Azure portal, CLI, or using PowerShell commands. The private cloud is installed and managed through your Azure subscription; each subscription can contain one or more private clouds.


Each private cloud is initially set up with one vSAN cluster. You can add, remove, and grow clusters using the Azure portal or API. A cluster can scale between 3 and 16 hosts, and all hosts must be of the same type. During your evaluation of the Azure VMware Solution you can launch a trial cluster, which is limited to 3 hosts. 

You can use vSphere and NSX-TManager to manage cluster configuration and operations. You have direct control of local storage on all cluster hosts via vSAN.

vSAN Clusters

The local storage on each node in the cluster becomes part of a vSAN. Each individual host has an SSD disk drive capacity of up to 15.4TB, and all disk groups use an NVMe cache that is 2TB in size. To calculate the total storage capacity of the cluster, multiply the current number of hosts by the raw capacity of each disk. Scale up storage by adding most hosts.

The raw capacity of each disk depends on the type of node:

  • High End (HE) hosts provide raw storage capacity of 15.4TB
  • General Purpose (GP) hosts provide raw storage capacity of 7.7TB

Azure Storage Integration

You can combine vSAN storage with Azure Storage, for VMware workloads running in your private cloud. VMware integrates with Azure Blob Storage and Table Storage. When your VMware workloads use these Azure storage services, traffic does not traverse the Internet. This provides additional security and enables the use of Azure storage with predictable SLA in the private cloud.

Azure VMware Solution Architecture

The Azure VMware Solution architecture is based on three-way connectivity between private clouds deployed in Azure, the on-premise data center environment, and public cloud Azure services.

By leveraging virtual networks (VNets), you can integrate private clouds with Azure service endpoints, with a guaranteed SLA. Connections are facilitated by ExpressRoute Global Reach.

DiagramSource: Azure

Dedicated Hosts

The Azure VMware Solution is built on dedicated Azure hosts with hyper-converged infrastructure, which have the following hardware characteristics:

Hardware Resource

Azure VMware Hosts Provide




2 X 2.3 GHz 18-core Intel

vSAN storage - SSD

Two disk groups

Total capacity of 15.36TB (High End) or 7.7TB (General Purpose)

vSAN storage - VNMe

Three vSAN acting as NVMe cache

Total capacity 2TB

Networking and Interconnectivity

The Azure VMware Solution creates a private cloud environment that can be accessed on-premises or from Azure-based resources. This is achieved using Azure ExpressRoute and VPN Connections. To enable these services, you’ll need to provision specific firewall ports and IP ranges.

Private clouds disable Internet access by default for security reasons. To make web servers or VMs accessible over the Internet, you can use Azure Virtual WAN to create public IP addresses.

Access and Security

For security purposes, Azure VMware solutions use role-based vSphere access control. You can integrate the LDAP functionality of vSphere Single Sign On (SSO) with Azure Active Directory (AD). By default, vSAN encryption is used to protect data at rest.

Monitoring your Private Cloud

When you deploy an Azure VMware Solution to your Azure subscription, Azure Monitor logs are automatically generated. You can also collect logs from any virtual machine in your private cloud. You can download and install the Microsoft Monitoring Agent (MMA) to enable Azure Diagnostic extensions on any VM, Linux or Windows, running in the Azure VMWare private cloud.

VMware on Azure with NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports up to a capacity of 368TB, and supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload, with a strong set of features including high availability, data protection, storage efficiencies, Kubernetes integration, and more.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports advanced features for managing SAN storage in the cloud, catering for cloud-based database systems, as well as cloud file shares.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides high availability, ensuring business continuity with no data loss (RPO=0) and minimal recovery times (RTO < 60 secs).

Learn more about how Cloud Volumes ONTAP helps to address the challenges of VMware Cloud, and read here about our VMware Cloud Case Studies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager