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Announcing new offers and capabilities that make Azure the best place for all your apps, data, and infrastructure

Posted on July 12, 2018

Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Azure

Just a few months back, I wrote about how we are helping companies move to the cloud with a flexible hybrid approach and cost-effective path to Azure. To help our customers realize even greater savings and simplify the migration to Azure, I’m pleased to share some exciting updates to address these customer needs.

Migrate to Azure with free Windows Server and SQL Server 2008 Extended Security Updates

Windows Server and SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 were hugely popular when they launched nearly 10 years ago and have been deployed in millions of instances worldwide. Our customers continue to run many of their business applications on these servers. With the decade anniversary coming, both these versions are nearing end of support - with SQL Server 2008 end of support in July 2019 and Windows Server 2008 end of support in January 2020. We know many customers want to continue with these servers, and we are here to help ensure all our customers have great options.

Today, we are announcing that we will provide extended security updates for three years past the end of support dates for free when running in Azure. This means customers get the efficiency of running servers in Azure, as well as three more years of security updates at no additional cost.

For SQL Server customers specifically, Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, generally available early Q4 this calendar year, provides a dramatically more cost-effective database with complete compatibility to SQL Server. It’s truly the best of both worlds. Beyond migration, we can also help you upgrade to a more recent server versions on-premises or upgrade along with your move to Azure. Learn more about all of these options here.

For customers running any version of Windows Server or SQL Server, Azure Hybrid Benefit lets you save money with Azure like no other cloud can. Azure Hybrid Benefit provides up to 55 percent savings of running Windows Server or SQL Server on Azure – why would you run your Windows Server or SQL Server anywhere else?!

Migrate all your workloads to Azure – Linux, MySQL, PostgreSQL, and NoSQL

With over 40 percent of the VM cores on Linux in Azure today, Azure provides support for all popular distributions including RedHat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Enterprise Server, Ubuntu, CentOS, and Debian. Our Azure migration tools also enable you to assess and migrate these Linux distros.

I’ve seen customers realize phenomenal business results with their migration to Azure. One example is J.B. Hunt, a trucking and transportation provider. They migrated their critical logistics applications to Azure as they digitize their business, while maintaining their on-premises footprint.

“Moving to Azure has helped us keep pace with our business growth and increasing customer expectations. We were able to migrate and modernize several critical Linux, Windows, and Java applications to Azure while continuing to run on-premises operations, thanks to Azure hybrid capabilities. Microsoft met us where we were at and helped us achieve significant business transformation in months, instead of years,” says Jay Davidson, Vice President, Technology, J.B. Hunt. 

We are also seeing tremendous momentum of MySQL and PostgreSQL on-premises databases migrating to fully managed Azure Database services, and NoSQL databases to Azure Cosmos DB. To make this easier and faster, we will add support for Azure Database for MySQL and PostgreSQL to Azure Database Migration Service by end of this month.

Willis Towers Watson, a leading global advisory, brokerage and solutions company, is using the Azure Database Migration Service to migrate several databases to Azure, without downtime.

“The Azure Database Migration Service was a life saver for us moving our databases to Azure. We successfully migrated over 100 databases to Azure using the service over a period of two months without any downtime or loss of data. This process would have taken us well over six months and days/weeks of downtime for our users were we to using any other method,” says Greg Matuskovic, IT Executive and Services Director, Willis Towers Watson.

Last, but not least, to help customers securely move large amounts of data to Azure, we are extending our investments in Azure Data Box with the public preview of Data Box Disk that enables a total capacity of 40 TB. This makes moving very large amounts of data to Azure even easier, and always secure.

With new capabilities enabling migration to Azure combined with unparalleled deals of free extended security updates and Azure Hybrid Benefits, there has never been a better time to move to Azure.

Visit the Azure migration center to learn more and get started with Azure migration today.