Server migration to the cloud.
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Cloud migration is one of the most important transitions a company can make today. Consequently, choosing the right platform to manage that shift is a big decision, requiring careful analysis of your options. Two of the best are Microsoft Azure and VMware Cloud.

VMware and Azure have a lot in common, but their ideal use cases and feature ranges differ. Here’s a closer look at these two tools, so you can decide which is best for your needs.

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What is Microsoft Azure?

Microsoft logo.
Image: Microsoft

Microsoft Azure is one of the most popular cloud platforms on the market and covers a suite of cloud computing tools. Scalability and versatility are the key selling points here. The platform includes more than 200 features and services, including containerized app building, AI, edge computing and DevOps tools.

This impressive range of features appeals mainly to large enterprises, which comprise most of its customer base. It also emphasizes digital acceleration, offering cutting-edge tools and technologies for users to capitalize on. Integrations with many other apps take this versatility and innovation-centric approach even further.

What is VMware Cloud?

VMware logo.
Image: VMware

At first glance, VMware Cloud seems remarkably similar: It also supports flexible cloud environments and has multiple integrations. However, it takes a dramatically different approach to these technologies. While using Azure means utilizing Microsoft’s data centers and resources, VMware uses virtualization to run on virtually any cloud environment, including Azure.

VMware Cloud’s emphasis is on hybrid environments and app development. It aims to streamline application modernization by giving businesses more flexibility, letting them choose the cloud of their choice while managing many of the more technical sides of operations. Think of it less as a strict cloud provider and more as a software-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service provider that can work on the cloud of your choice.

Microsoft Azure vs. VMware Cloud: Key features

FeaturesMicrosoft AzureVMware Cloud
Data analyticsYes


Runs on any cloudNoYes

Owns its own data centersYes

Zero-trust support



Head-to-head comparison: Microsoft Azure vs. VMware Cloud

VMware Cloud and Azure have several common offerings, but their approach varies. Here’s a closer look at how each supports multi-cloud environments, data analytics and zero-trust security.


Multi-cloud support is crucial, as 90% of large enterprises and 60% of small businesses use more than one cloud. VMware’s emphasis on virtualization lends itself naturally to these hybrid environments. You can use the same VMware tools across any cloud, including those from competing vendors like Azure and AWS.

Multi-cloud support comes by design in VMware Cloud, but it’s a little more complicated on Azure. The platform’s containerization services make it easy to create and deploy apps across hybrid environments, but your cloud options themselves are a little more limited. You can run these tools across any Azure-enabled data center and on-premise infrastructure, but not other systems. That still gives you a lot of options, but fewer than VMware.

Data analytics

Both tools also offer data analytics features to improve visibility across your cloud environments. This is a crucial part of meeting standards like ISO 9001, so data analytics must be easy and insightful.

Azure has extensive analytics capabilities, including built-in machine learning features and Apache Spark-based analytics tools. These can cover virtually every analytics goal users have, though they may take more understanding and expertise to use effectively.

VMware also offers cloud analytics tools. These are less extensive than Microsoft’s offerings, but because VMware manages more on its end, they may be easier for small businesses that aren’t used to these processes.

Zero-trust security

VMware Cloud and Microsoft Azure both include tools for zero-trust security, which 96% of security decision-makers say is crucial to their company’s success. VMware offers built-in zero-trust tools, making it easier to implement these controls. This more consolidated approach also reduces sprawl.

Microsoft Azure doesn’t have a strictly zero-trust feature, but it does provide the tools and learning materials necessary to create a zero-trust environment. Instead of using a dedicated program, you’ll have to combine multiple Azure devices. This can make the process more complicated, but Microsoft offers guides on how to do it.

Overall, which cloud migration tool is best depends on your specific needs. Larger businesses with more complex cloud needs should choose Azure for its scalability, control and abundance of features. However, it may be too complicated for less experienced users to use effectively.

VMware Cloud is better for smaller operations or those with more flexible cloud needs.  VMware’s virtualization will work well if you already have a platform you like and want to take to the next level. It doesn’t have all the features of Azure, but it can be easier to understand and manage.

You can make the most informed decision when you know what each offering includes. Consider these strengths and weaknesses and review your teams’ needs to find the best solution for you.

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Subscribe to the Cloud Insider Newsletter

This is your go-to resource for the latest news and tips on the following topics and more, XaaS, AWS, Microsoft Azure, DevOps, virtualization, the hybrid cloud, and cloud security. Delivered Mondays and Wednesdays