back to article Microsoft kicks VMware right in its weakest, cloudiest spot

Microsoft has flicked the switch on an enhanced version of its Azure Site Recovery (ASR) for VMware customers. ASR is pretty simple in concept: the service allows you to replicate virtual machines into Azure, update them and then run the VMs in Azure as a disaster recovery option. You pay US$54 a month per instance stored in …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "VMware offers a similar disaster recovery service in its own vCloud Air cloud"

    Ironically, VMware are unable to offer a DR for services running in its cloud, their DR is only for on prem systems.

    Unfortunately, the maintenance window issue makes this whole thing a non starter. Normally we plan for a minimum 6 months in DR to allow for setting up a new site to fail back to. If the DR systems reboot at uncontrollable intervals that's as unacceptable as it is in a production data centre. For now, at least, Azure is unsuitable for running non clustered workloads (which is most of them!). vCloud is unsuitable for running workloads which require DR (Most of them!). AWS is close but still has its issues.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Microsoft may not have been able to dislodge VMware from its niche in server virtualisation"

      I would say going from nothing to over 30% market share with Hyper-V is a pretty good way towards dislodging VMware.

      VMware simply can't compete with Hyper-V Server being completely free for the fully featured version. You only pay for the management tools - if you want them. And there are 3rd party tools that are pretty good if you don't want to pay Microsoft any money.

      1. Emmeran

        Same old MSFT monopoly trick, offer for free what your competition sells as it's primary product. Worked with Netscape, Citrix and everything else. Too bad the regulators can't see what's plain as day to everyone else.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Worked with Netscape, Citrix and everything else"

          Works for Linux too. Should we ban it?

          1. busycoder99

            Nice try AC, but Linux offers the code for free, not the compiled end product. If Linus suddenly decides to charge everyone, you are free to fork the code and compile your own version, for free.

            So unless Microsoft have published the source code for Hyper-V server under a GPL license (goosebumps), your argument doesn't hold water.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              " Linux offers the code for free, not the compiled end product. If Linus suddenly decides to charge everyone, you are free to fork the code and compile your own version, for free."

              Utterly irrelevant. If it's somehow a dodgy business model for Microsoft to give software away that other people charge for then the same would apply to Linux.

              In reality Microsoft can give away what they like for free and if they can make money by selling related products, services and support then there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever. If others can't compete, that's their problem, not Microsoft's!

            2. Lusty

              "So unless Microsoft have published the source code for Hyper-V server under a GPL license "

              Why bother, it was based entirely on Xen as Microsoft said before they released it.

        2. Simon Sharwood, Reg APAC Editor (Written by Reg staff)

          Backup and DR companies would IMHO have every right to squeal if Microsoft bakes ASR into Windows Server 2016. Sure, Windows has always had weak backup utilities. But ASR is a whole new level.

    2. GeorgeTuk

      "Ironically, VMware are unable to offer a DR for services running in its cloud, their DR is only for on prem systems."

      Indeed, I found this almost unbelievable when I looked it all up and had to ask a few VMWare Partners to check.

      Its a very strange set up, otherwise as a national charity already running VMWare we would have hopped straight in their cloud. It was only that and not having a suitable partner available that stopped us.

    3. ToFab

      Can you elaborate at bit more on this?

      Quote: For now, at least, Azure is unsuitable for running non clustered workloads (which is most of them!).

      Why is Azure unsuitable for this?

      1. Cloud, what..... Sorry... Um... - you just made that up.

        Re: Can you elaborate at bit more on this?

        It reboots some virtual machines some of the time.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If the DR systems reboot at uncontrollable intervals that's as unacceptable as it is in a production data centre."

      Azure reboots are rare and for single instance VMs they notify you a week in advance. If you cant work with very brief planned downtime for your DR site then the problem is you, not Azure.....

      The best way to avoid any issues is to use multi-instance VM configurations, where you should never experience a service outage:

      "For virtual machines in a multi-instance configuration, virtual machines are updated in way that preserves availability throughout the process, assuming each machine serves a similar function as the others in the set. Each virtual machine in your Availability Set is assigned an Update Domain (UD) and a Fault Domain (FD) by the underlying Azure platform. Each UD is a group of virtual machines that will be rebooted in the same time window. Each FD is a group of virtual machines that share a common power source and network switch.

      Microsoft Azure guarantees that no planned maintenance event will cause virtual machines from two different UDs to go offline at the same time. therefore maintaining your service\application up-time. The maintenance is performed by shutting down each virtual machine, applying the update to the host machines, restarting the virtual machine, and moving on to the next UD. "

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It isn't planned downtime if it isn't YOUR plan. Customers have the restart time dictated to them at the moment in the form of a 48 hour window. How does halfway through your month end processing suit you? No? Tough, we're binning it off anyway as our plan says today...

        Not enterprise ready. Yet.

    5. Leisure

      its a relief..

      You nailed it. But being a vCloud user in a multi-tenant environment, we have no option within VMware, as similar to what this article says. I am ready to live with few glitches, as long as this is a working solution and predictable.

  2. thondwe

    VMware Hanging on - Just

    VMware are hanging on by dint of the "cost of change" - VMware shops not jumping on Hyper-V because of fear of change.

    Hyper-V 2016 (well Windows 2016) does seem to have something to add to the local datacenter - looks to be getting much of NSX style SDN stuff - and that'll be included in the licences too...

    VMware's heading the way of a number of other Vendors - a better implementation of something MS does OK (e.g. SCCM/SCOM/VDI/AV competitors) for those who need it and have a cheque book to pay... Falling from big player to bit part actor

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: VMware Hanging on - Just

      MS have a good offering. Still plenty of time for them to make a mess of it by mucking around with licencing terms.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: VMware Hanging on - Just

      "looks to be getting much of NSX style SDN stuff "

      Windows Server / Hyper-V Server have had full SDN capabilities built in since 2012. Azure has run on it for years. VMware are playing catch-up with NSX. NSX also requires proprietary hardware support unlike Microsoft's SDN solution...

      "and that'll be included in the licences too"

      Hyper-V server is free with all features enabled, so that's not really news.

  3. cstosgale

    ASR Costs

    This article is a bit misleading as you do get charged for storage when backing up to ASR. So the cost of the service is per VM plus the following. Appreciate the bit at the bottom about VMware is probably out of date:

    What additional charges do I incur while using Azure Site Recovery?

    While using Site Recovery to Azure, you will incur charges for Storage, storage transactions and outbound data transfer. In addition to these charges, if you are using Site Recovery to Azure against instances running on vSphere, you will incur additional Azure compute charges when setting up the master target and config servers.

    1. strebeld

      Re: ASR Costs

      With the new Enhanced ASR for VMware you no longer pay for the master target and config server in Azure. You'll be charged for ASR license, storage in Azure, and storage transactions. If you do failover then additional charges for compute and outbound bandwidth over public network. If using Azure Express Route then you may have no charge for outbound bandwidth.

  4. ToFab

    Can you elaborate at bit more on this?

    "For now, at least, Azure is unsuitable for running non clustered workloads (which is most of them!)."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can you elaborate at bit more on this?

      If you don't architect a load balanced clustered service (or single server if you will) Microsoft will restart it when they need to. It says so on the Azure page for all to read (few do). They give you a 48 hour window in which your system will restart and cause a service outage (because the service is not highly available). You have no say in when this happens and there is (as of today) nothing you can do to mitigate the issue such as the Amazon proactive restart where you can reboot at your convenience on your schedule within your two weeks notice period.

      For an enterprise you can't just restart a service. You need a maintenance window that the business agrees with.

      The way to deal with this is clustering (needs third party storage, currently NetApp only) or load balancing (needs compatible app). Most COTS software will at the very least add cost for HA if it even supports it at all, usually it doesn't. MS suggest you don't move these systems to the cloud right now.

  5. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Happy

    >But VMware can't match Microsoft for cloudy scale or reach

    But VMware can't match Microsoft for cloudy scale and reach, it can easily match Microsoft for availabiltiy, though.

    BTW, no Azure outage on January 1st this year ? Have they managed to hire someone who knows how to renew certificates ??????

    I guess they developed a "point & click" certificate renewal app ...

  6. IT Hack

    Azure

    Is it reliable?

    No.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Azure

      Reliable until they forget to renew their SSL certificates. Or a patch in an supposedly isolated instance replicates across geographic clusters, causing entire distributed clusters to fail like a stack of dominoes. Or, well you get the idea.

  7. drtune

    $54 a _month_? That's pretty ballsy pricing

  8. nilfs2
    FAIL

    Azure is not compliant of standards

    Not supporting ICMP on it's load balanced instances is a joke, who had the ridiculous idea of blocking one of the most critical networking protocols? Who knows what other bizarre things like that they are doing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Azure is not compliant of standards

      By default. Dumbass.

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