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Windows virtual machines

Get on-demand, highly scalable and protected virtualised infrastructure with Windows virtual machines (VMs) in Azure.

Get the most cost-effective VMs for Windows Server workloads

Capitalize on your existing investments and migrate your Microsoft technologies, including Windows Server, SQL Server, .NET applications, Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), and System Center, to Azure. Easily automate Windows Server management with Azure Automanage, and use premier Windows Server capabilities like hotpatching. Take advantage of savings with reservation pricing and by using your existing on-premises Windows Server licenses with Azure Hybrid Benefit when you move to Azure. Get free extended security updates for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008, 2012, 2008 R2, and 2012 R2. Taking these benefits together, AWS is five times more expensive than Azure for Windows Server and SQL Server.

Run Microsoft enterprise applications

Host and run your applications on VMs in Azure. Run SQL Server, SharePoint Server, Project Server and additional Microsoft server software in Azure VMs. Or, transition to fully managed Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, SharePoint online or Azure SQL Database and get hybrid identity services with Azure AD.

Learn about Windows Server 2022

Migrate or build new apps using familiar tools

Improve scalability and agility by migrating your existing .NET applications to the cloud – lift and shift using VMs and containers, or rewrite them as cloud-native apps. Get intelligent insights, analytics and machine learning capabilities. Access familiar open-source and Microsoft tools, including PowerShell, Visual Studio and Azure AD. Modernise applications at scale on Azure, on-premises and at the edge with Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) and AKS on Azure Stack HCI.

Migrate your .NET applications to Azure

Explore Azure DevOps

Discover Azure DevTest Labs

Extend your on-premises data centre with hybrid solutions

Get operational consistency across on-premises and Azure deployments. Manage all your servers and VMs with Windows Admin Center, also available in Azure. Use Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery, and Azure Storage for Windows Server workloads running on premises or on Azure. Take advantage of bottomless storage in Azure by replicating files from your on-premises Windows Servers to Azure using Azure File Sync. Use Azure Stack to build and deploy in the same way for both cloud and on-premises environments.

Learn more about hybrid cloud applications

Get built-in security management for your Windows VMs

Help prevent attacks with the built-in security features of Windows Server 2019 and 2022. Improve your security posture while retaining high availability by applying security patches automatically with hotpatching in Azure Automanage. Continuously monitor threats and respond quickly to attacks with Azure Security Center, and get three more years of security updates for Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. Implement extra security for development, testing, customer training, and demo environments by using nested VMs on Azure.

Learn about Azure cloud security

Enhance data confidentiality with Azure VMs

Comprehensive security and compliance, built in

Get the power, control and customisation you need at competitive prices

Identify the best Windows VM for your workloads with the virtual machines selector. Configure and estimate the costs of your Azure VMs using the pricing calculator or learn more about Windows VM pricing.

Trusted by companies of all sizes

"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. We literally bet our company on Microsoft."

Randy De Meno, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Commvault

Harmonising development and hosting

To transform its applications frequently and host them securely, Allscripts lifted and shifted dozens of acquired applications running on 1,000 VMs to Azure.


Migrating seamlessly to Azure

Leading construction software ISV shifts 900 customers to Azure in record time.


"Our operating costs decreased by more than 50 percent, and at the same time, gave us better performance and a more flexible and scalable environment for our internal needs."

Markus Hogsved, CTO, OPEN

"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."

Younhyung Nam, Director of Platform and System Management, Pearl Abyss
Pearl Abyss

Everything you need to get started with Windows VMs

Get instant access and a $200 credit by signing up for an Azure free account.

Learn how to provision your first VM with 5-minute quickstart tutorials and developer documentation.

Enhance your VM with additional features, such as security and backup services.

Documentation, training and migration resources

5-minute quickstart

Build an IIS web server within a Windows Server 2016 VM using:

Learning modules

Learn how to provision VMs on Azure with step-by-step guidance from Microsoft Learn.

Community and Azure support

Ask questions and get support from Microsoft engineers and Azure community experts.

Migrate to Azure

Manage costs and migrate apps, data and infrastructure with these free resources.

Popular templates and labs

Discover self-paced labs and popular quickstart templates for common configurations.

Pre-provisioned VMs and partner solutions

Connect with certified partners and choose from thousands of apps and VM images on:

Azure Virtual Machines updates, blogs and announcements

Frequently asked questions about Azure and Azure VMs

  • Azure supports most Windows Server versions – refer to the Azure Guest OS releases compatibility matrix for more details.
  • A range of guest operating systems can be migrated to Azure. This includes all of the supported Windows Server versions and VMs from these 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 aren’t dependent on the on-premises hypervisor.
  • A broad range of Microsoft applications run in Azure VMs, including BizTalk Server 2013 and later versions, Dynamics AX 2012 R3 and later, and Exchange Server 2013 and later versions. For a complete list of supported Microsoft server software, please refer to the documentation.
  • Azure offers a broad range of virtual machines – there’s a VM for every workload. View the entire set of Azure Virtual Machine Series or read the documentation Windows VMs to learn more.
  • The Azure VM Series pages and the Azure VM pricing calculator are great resources for helping you determine your VM needs.
  • As you transition your workloads to Azure, take advantage of Azure Hybrid Benefit, to use your existing Windows Server licences with Software Assurance or Windows Server subscriptions for significant savings on Azure. You can use the benefit with Windows Server Data Centre and Standard edition licences covered with Software Assurance or Windows Server Subscriptions. Depending on the edition, you can convert or reuse your licences to run Windows Server virtual machines in Azure and pay a lower base compute rate. For each licence, Azure will cover the cost of the OS for up to two virtual machines while you pay just for the base compute VM costs.
  • Yes. On 14 January 2020, support for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 ended, which means the end of regular security updates. Rehost your Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 workloads to Azure and get three years of extended security updates at no additional charge and upgrade to a current version when you’re ready. Get the details.
  • With no upfront cost, you only pay for what you use. Azure provides flexible purchasing and pricing options for all your cloud scenarios, such as Azure Hybrid Benefit and Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances, and offers a comprehensive set of tools, such as Azure Cost Management, to help you manage your cloud spend. Model your total cost of ownership (TCO) in Azure with this calculator.

    Learn more

  • Yes. With Azure dev/test, you can obtain pricing discounts on a variety of other Azure services. Learn more about Azure dev/test pricing.
  • Create VMs in Azure through the Azure portal, Azure PowerShell or Azure CLI:
    • The Azure portal provides a browser-based user interface to create VMs and their associated resources.
    • The Azure PowerShell module is used to create and manage Azure resources from the PowerShell command line or in scripts.
    • The Azure CLI is used to create and manage Azure resources from the command line or in scripts.

    Refer to the documentation for more details.

  • Nested virtualisation is supported in Azure. This feature allows you to run Microsoft Hyper-V inside of a Hyper-V virtual machine, which is useful, for example, when running a Visual Studio phone emulator in a virtual machine or testing configurations that ordinarily require several hosts.

    Learn how to enable nested virtualisation by reading the documentation.

  • Azure virtual machine scale sets help you create and manage a group of load-balanced and auto-scaling VMs. Deploy VM scale sets using Azure Resource Manager templates, which support Windows and Linux platform images and custom images and extensions.
  • Of course. Create an Azure free account to learn how Azure works, try products and cloud services, and view tutorials on how to deploy your first solution in ten minutes or less.

    Getting started

  • More than 95 per cent of Fortune 500 companies use Azure. Azure has more global regions than any cloud provider and offers the most comprehensive set of compliance offerings. Azure offers built-in support for the most popular integrated development environments trusted by more than 20 million developers – Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code.

    Compare Azure vs AWS

  • Explore our comprehensive approach. There are several Microsoft and partner tools and a large ecosystem of partners to help migrate on-premises VMs to Azure. Visit the Azure migration center to learn more.
  • Microsoft offers a range of OS-independent service-level agreements (SLAs) for Azure VMs. Read the SLA for Azure Virtual Machines.
  • Most Azure VMs come with temporary non-persistent local storage. Additionally, Azure offers HDD and SSD storage for data. Learn more about Azure Disk Storage. Refer to the Azure VM technical documentation (Linux VMs and Windows VMs) to learn about the Azure disks that are available for each VM series.
  • On-premises licenses for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 Extended Security Updates will end on January 14, 2023. On-premises licenses SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 Extended Security Updates will end on July 12, 2022. Read the complete details.
  • Yes, we’ll offer Extended Security Updates for SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. Free Extended Security Updates will be available for customers on Azure, which includes Azure Virtual Machines, SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines, Azure Dedicated Host, Azure VMWare Solutions, Azure Nutanix Solution, and Azure Stack HCI. Read the complete details.

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