What is Azure VMware Solution?

Azure VMware Solution provides you with private clouds that contain VMware vSphere clusters built from dedicated bare-metal Azure infrastructure. The minimum initial deployment is three hosts, but additional hosts can be added one at a time, up to a maximum of 16 hosts per cluster. All provisioned private clouds have VMware vCenter Server, VMware vSAN, VMware vSphere, and VMware NSX-T Data Center. As a result, you can migrate workloads from your on-premises environments, deploy new virtual machines (VMs), and consume Azure services from your private clouds. In addition, Azure VMware Solution management tools (vCenter Server and NSX Manager) are available at least 99.9% of the time. For more information, see Azure VMware Solution SLA.

Azure VMware Solution is a VMware validated solution with ongoing validation and testing of enhancements and upgrades. Microsoft manages and maintains the private cloud infrastructure and software. It allows you to focus on developing and running workloads in your private clouds to deliver business value.

The diagram shows the adjacency between private clouds and VNets in Azure, Azure services, and on-premises environments. Network access from private clouds to Azure services or VNets provides SLA-driven integration of Azure service endpoints. ExpressRoute Global Reach connects your on-premises environment to your Azure VMware Solution private cloud.

Diagram of Azure VMware Solution private cloud adjacency to Azure and on-premises.

Hosts, clusters, and private clouds

Azure VMware Solution clusters are based on hyper-converged, bare-metal infrastructure. The following table shows the RAM, CPU, and disk capacities of the host.

Host Type CPU (GHz) RAM (GB) vSAN Cache Tier (TB, raw) vSAN Capacity Tier (TB, raw) Regional availability
AV36 dual Intel 18 core 2.3 GHz (SkyLake) 576 3.2 (NVMe) 15.20 (SSD) All product regions
AV36P dual Intel 18 core 2.6 GHz / 3.9 GHz turbo (Cascade Lake) 768 1.5 (Intel Optane Cache) 19.20 (NVMe) Selected regions (*)
AV52 dual Intel 26 core 2.7 GHz / 4.0 GHz turbo (Cascade Lake) 1536 1.5 (Intel Optane Cache) 38.40 (NVMe) Selected regions (*)

An Azure VMware cluster requires a minimum number of three hosts. You can only use host of the same type in a single cluster. You can use multiple clusters with different host types in a single Azure VMware Private Cloud. Hosts used to build or scale clusters come from an isolated pool of hosts. Those hosts have passed hardware tests and have had all data securely deleted before being added to a cluster.

(*) details available via the Azure pricing calculator.

You can deploy new or scale existing private clouds through the Azure portal or Azure CLI.

Networking

Azure VMware Solution offers a private cloud environment accessible from on-premises and Azure-based resources. Services such as Azure ExpressRoute, VPN connections, or Azure Virtual WAN deliver the connectivity. However, these services require specific network address ranges and firewall ports for enabling the services.

When deploying a private cloud, private networks for management, provisioning, and vMotion get created. You'll use these private networks to access vCenter and NSX-T Manager and virtual machine vMotion or deployment.

ExpressRoute Global Reach is used to connect private clouds to on-premises environments. It connects circuits directly at the Microsoft Enterprise Edge (MSEE) level. The connection requires a virtual network (vNet) with an ExpressRoute circuit to on-premises in your subscription. The reason is that vNet gateways (ExpressRoute Gateways) can't transit traffic, which means you can attach two circuits to the same gateway, but it won't send the traffic from one circuit to the other.

Each Azure VMware Solution environment is its own ExpressRoute region (its own virtual MSEE device), which lets you connect Global Reach to the 'local' peering location. It allows you to connect multiple Azure VMware Solution instances in one region to the same peering location.

Note

For locations where ExpressRoute Global Reach isn't enabled, for example, because of local regulations, you have to build a routing solution using Azure IaaS VMs. For some examples, see AzureCAT-AVS/networking.

Virtual machines deployed on the private cloud are accessible to the internet through the Azure Virtual WAN public IP functionality. For new private clouds, internet access is disabled by default.

For more information, see Networking concepts.

Access and security

Azure VMware Solution private clouds use vSphere role-based access control for enhanced security. You can integrate vSphere SSO LDAP capabilities with Azure Active Directory. For more information, see the Access and Identity concepts.

vSAN data-at-rest encryption, by default, is enabled and is used to provide vSAN datastore security. For more information, see Storage concepts.

VMware software versions

The VMware solution software versions used in new deployments of Azure VMware Solution private cloud clusters are:

Software Version
vCenter Server 7.0 U3c
ESXi 7.0 U3c
vSAN 7.0 U3c
vSAN on-disk format 10
HCX 4.3.3
NSX-T Data Center
NOTE: NSX-T Data Center is the only supported version of NSX Data Center.
3.1.2

The currently running software version is applied to new clusters added to an existing private cloud. For more information, see the VMware software version requirements for HCX and Understanding vSAN on-disk format versions and compatibility.

Host and software lifecycle maintenance

Regular upgrades of the Azure VMware Solution private cloud and VMware software ensure the latest security, stability, and feature sets are running in your private clouds. For more information, see Host maintenance and lifecycle management.

Monitoring your private cloud

Once you’ve deployed Azure VMware Solution into your subscription, Azure Monitor logs are generated automatically.

In your private cloud, you can:

Monitoring patterns inside the Azure VMware Solution are similar to Azure VMs within the IaaS platform. For more information and how-tos, see Monitoring Azure VMs with Azure Monitor.

Customer communication

You can find service issues, planned maintenance, health advisories, security advisories notifications published through Service Health in the Azure portal. You can take timely actions when you set up activity log alerts for these notifications. You can take timely actions when you set up activity log alerts for these notifications. For more information, see Create service health alerts using the Azure portal.

Screenshot of Service Health notifications.

Next steps

The next step is to learn key private cloud and cluster concepts.