Windows Server on Azure
Discover the trusted cloud for Windows Server
Azure meets you where you are today
Azure is the best destination for Windows Server. Whether you're migrating as is or modernising applications, Azure offers native support for SQL, .NET, Remote Desktop Services and other Windows Server workloads. Take advantage of more than 200 services and capabilities – such as Azure Automanage, Windows Admin Centre in Azure, Azure Arc–enabled servers and Azure App Service – only on Azure.
Join the start-ups, governments and Fortune 500 companies that run Windows Server on Azure
Unparalleled innovation for Windows Server workloads
Take advantage of exclusive features and applications when you move your workloads to Azure.
Simplify IT management with optimised, automated operations across the entire life cycle of dev/test and production virtual machines (VMs).
Perform Windows Server OS management, configuration, monitoring and troubleshooting on VMs in Azure, right from the Azure portal.
Modernise your Windows Server apps on Azure with Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and AKS on Azure Stack HCI.
Quickly build, deploy and scale .NET web apps and APIs on a fully managed platform, on your own terms.
Why Azure is the best destination for Windows Server
Reduce costs with unbeatable offers
Optimise costs by taking advantage of offers available only on Azure.
- Save 40 per cent or more when you apply Azure Hybrid Benefit to your existing Windows and SQL Server licences.
- Save even more with three years of free Extended Security Updates for Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 and SQL Server 2012, only in Azure.
- Get industry-leading price performance with SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines (Windows).2
Protect workloads with unmatched security
Secure your hosted Windows Server workloads with multi-layered, built-in security. Maintain your security posture with native controls, and detect and respond to evolving threats at scale with intelligent solutions.
- Get high availability by applying security patches automatically and without downtime using hotpatch.
- Proactively manage and strengthen your cloud security posture across Azure and hybrid resources with Microsoft Defender for Cloud.
- Modernise security operations across your enterprise with Microsoft Sentinel, the first cloud-native SIEM on a leading public cloud with built-in AI and automation.
- Protect data in use with industry-leading Azure confidential computing.
Extend on-premises environments to Azure with seamless hybrid capabilities
Operate seamlessly across your on-premises datacentre and the cloud with Azure, the only cloud with end-to-end hybrid infrastructure and consistent security, identity and management features.
- Universally manage and secure identities across environments using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).
- Extend Azure security, management, and services to any infrastructure with Azure Arc.
- Quickly and easily enable services such as Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery and Azure Monitor using Windows Admin Centre.
- Choose from a broad range of compute options and VMs using Azure Virtual Machines to accommodate and scale every workload you create.
- Run your core apps on VMware environments natively in Azure with Azure VMware Solution or move your single-tenant workloads to Azure Dedicated Host.
Estimate the cost savings of migrating your Windows workloads to Azure
Use this calculator to compare the total cost of ownership (TCO) of running Windows on Azure versus on premises.
Migrate your Windows Server apps and workloads to Azure
Determine how prepared you are to migrate with the Strategic Migration Assessment and Readiness Tool.
Learn how to analyse your IT resources and plan for a smooth migration with the Azure migration guide for Windows Server.
Find the right Windows Server migration tool—and tools for all your workloads—using Azure Migrate, a hub for migration tools and services.
Get step-by-step guidance from the Microsoft product team on moving your VMs to Azure in a video tutorial.
Learn how to implement a quick, low-impact migration to Azure by reading The ultimate guide to Windows Server on Azure.
Discover how to deploy and manage Windows Server on Azure for improved scalability, security and privacy in learning paths from Microsoft.
Learn how to optimise the efficiency and costs of your cloud-based architecture in a free online course.
Optimise the reliability, security, performance and cost of your Azure deployments with Azure Advisor.
Get help at every step of your migration journey from experienced partners
See how customers are transforming their businesses with Windows Server on Azure
Jeff Thomas, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Sentara Healthcare
"Even as technology changes rapidly, we can respond and deploy what the organization needs thanks to the agility we gained with Azure, which leads to better clinical outcomes and more patient-first services."
Ralph Feltis, Senior Software Engineer, Alaska Airlines
"With Azure, we scale when needed and avoid huge overprovisioning costs."
Grant Barrans, Senior Vice President and Actuary, MetLife
"Working with Microsoft has consistently paid dividends. They have proved to be reliable, innovative partners."
Mike Mellor, Senior Director of Technical Operations, Adobe
"Using Azure frees us to focus on where we add value—developing great software and delivering great customer experiences."
Younhyung Nam, Director of Platform and System Management, Pearl Abyss
"We chose Azure because of its stability. It had all the functions we needed, and Azure delivered them more reliably and at a lower cost than many of the other options we assessed."
Randy De Meno, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Commvault
"We decided to use Microsoft as our foundation, trusting we could deliver what we intended to deliver using the reliability, scalability, and security of the Microsoft infrastructure."
Windows Server on Azure resources
Migration and modernisation
Frequently asked questions about Windows Server on Azure
You can migrate a range of guest operating systems to Azure. This includes all of the supported Windows Server versions and VMs from VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V environments with Azure Site Recovery. VMs migrated from these on-premises virtualisation platforms run as native Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) VMs and are not dependent on the on-premises hypervisor.
We'll meet you where you are, whether you decide to stay on premises or adopt a hybrid model. In the meantime, check the end-of-support date for your version of Windows Server. Keep it running with Extended Security Updates, and ensure that you’ve upgraded to the latest version to take advantage of all the innovations.
Yes. Azure Hybrid Benefit lets you use your existing Windows Server licences with Software Assurance or Windows Server subscriptions for significant savings on Azure. Use Azure Hybrid Benefit with Windows Server Datacentre and Standard edition licences covered with Software Assurance or Windows Server subscriptions.
Depending on your edition of Windows Server, you can convert or reuse your licences to run Windows Server VMs on Azure and pay a lower base compute rate. For each licence, Azure will cover the cost of the OS for up to two VMs while you pay only the base compute VM costs.
Yes. There's no upfront cost, and you pay only for what you use. Azure provides flexible purchasing and pricing options, including Azure Hybrid Benefit and Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances, for all your cloud scenarios. Azure also offers a comprehensive set of tools to help you manage your cloud spend, including Azure Cost Management and Billing. Use the pricing calculator to determine your total cost of ownership (TCO), and learn more about Azure pricing.
1IDC White Paper, sponsored by Microsoft, “Addressing Enterprise Cloud Priorities with Microsoft Azure”, June 2020
2Price-performance claims based on data from a study commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by GigaOm in February 2020. The study compared price performance between SQL Server 2019 Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition in Azure E32as_v4 instance type with P30 Premium SSD Disks and the SQL Server 2019 Enterprise Edition on Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition in AWS EC2 r5a.8xlarge instance type with General Purpose (gp2) volumes. Benchmark data is taken from a GigaOm Analytic Field Test derived from a recognized industry standard, TPC Benchmark™ E (TPC-E). The Field Test does not implement the full TPC-E benchmark and as such, is not comparable to any published TPC-E benchmarks. Prices are based on publicly available US pricing in West US for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines and Northern California for AWS EC2 as of January 2020. The pricing incorporates three-year reservations for Azure and AWS compute pricing, and Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server and Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server, and Licence Mobility for SQL Server in AWS, excluding Software Assurance costs. Actual results and prices may vary based on configuration and region.