Posted by: Murray Gordon | March 29, 2010

VM Support in Windows Azure

Windows Azureclip_image002

Many of my customers and partners have raised questions around Windows Azure and the pilot program that Microsoft announced with Amazon Web Services.

While Windows Azure is not participating in this pilot, Microsoft is actively monitoring the feedback and will leverage the results this pilot to shape their future offerings. 

Microsoft has committed to enabling customers to purchase Windows Azure through a combination of existing and new licensing agreements. Additionally they will also ensure that they support a centralized seamless and consistent purchasing experience that existing multi-year commercial customers enjoy. Microsoft will have more specific details on this process later in the year.

Below you will find the FAQ for questions related to the pilot program. If you have additional questions please let feel free to comment on this post. I can answer those individually.

1. Will Windows Azure offer VM support?

Yes, Microsoft will add Virtual Machine functionality to Windows Azure to expand the set of existing applications that can be run on it. This Virtual Machine deployment functionality will enable developers to run a wide range of Windows applications in Windows Azure, while taking full advantage of the built in automated service management.

2. What is the pricing for this proposed VM functionality in Windows Azure?

We are not announcing pricing for the proposed Windows Azure VM functionality right now. However, this pricing will be consistent with our current Windows Azure pricing model.

3. How does this proposed VM functionality in Windows Azure differ from Amazon hosting Windows Server VMs?

While Windows Azure is a cloud service that uses (and charges via) computation resources that are analogous to physical computers, it differs in important ways from platforms such as AWS that offer VMs on demand. With a purely VM-based platform, the situation is much like hosting: You bear full responsibility for configuring and managing the VMs and the software they contain. With the proposed VM functionality in Windows Azure, while developers have the flexibility to customize the Windows Azure VM and incorporate it in service models, the platform itself takes care of everything else.

4. When will Windows Azure offer VM capability/support?

We are still engaged in the planning and prioritization for additional functionality in Windows Azure based on customer feedback. As we announced at PDC we will enable customers to migrate existing Windows Server applications through the managed virtual machine (VM) functionality in 2010.

5. Will Windows Azure enable similar Windows Server-license mobility in the future?

The Windows Azure team regularly evaluates new licensing models that could better serve customer needs. We look forward to customer and partner feedback on the Windows Server License Mobility pilot. We will take this feedback into consideration as we structure future licensing models.

6. When will Windows Azure be available in the Enterprise customer programs like the Enterprise Agreement & Select?

In the future, Microsoft will provide the ability for Windows Azure licensing agreements to be integrated into Enterprise customer programs such as Enterprise Agreement and Select.  We will provide specifics about the licensing model and pricing details in calendar year 2010. 

7. When will Windows Azure platform volume licensing pricing details be available?

We will provide volume licensing details in calendar year 2010.  We don’t have specifics to share at this time. 

Here’s the original email about Amazon Web Services, if you have not seen it yet.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Amazon Web Services <>
Date: Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 3:10 AM
Subject: Announcing the Windows Server ‘Bring Your Own License’ Pilot Program
To: REMOVEDclip_image001


Dear Amazon EC2 Customer,

We are excited to announce the immediate availability of the Microsoft Windows Server® License Mobility Pilot, which enables customers with Microsoft Enterprise Agreements (EA) to migrate their existing Windows Server licenses to Amazon EC2. By moving existing licenses to the cloud, you can leverage licenses that you have already purchased to reduce your cost of running Windows On-Demand or Reserved Instances by up to 41%. Microsoft will stop accepting new enrollments for the pilot on September 23, 2010 so it is important to act quickly.

To participate in this pilot, Microsoft requires that your company meet the following criteria:

  • Your company must be based (or have a legal entity) in the United States
  • Your company must have an existing Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) that is valid for a minimum of 12 months after your entry into the pilot
  • You must already have purchased Software Assurance from Microsoft for your EA Windows Server Enterprise, Datacenter, and Standard licenses
  • You must be an Enterprise customer (Academic and Government institutions are not covered by this pilot)

Once you have enrolled in the pilot, you will be eligible to run your Windows Server licenses in Amazon EC2 for the next 12 months following your sign-up. You will still be responsible for maintaining the appropriate number of Client Access licenses and External Connector licenses needed to operate your EA Windows Server licenses.

To learn more about this pilot or sign-up, please visit We hope that you take advantage of this new pilot!


The Amazon EC2 Team

We hope you enjoyed receiving this message. If you wish to remove yourself from receiving future product announcements or the AWS Newsletter, please update your communication preferences.

Amazon Web Services LLC is a subsidiary of, Inc. is a registered trademark of, Inc. This message produced and distributed by Amazon Web Services, LLC, 1200 12th Ave South, Seattle, WA 98144.

Thanks for checking out this post!


Murray Gordon
ISV Architect Evangelist
Microsoft Corporation
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