Microsoft launches Azure Bastion to provide secure, remote access to Azure VMs

Microsoft has announced a new managed PaaS service that will provide enterprises secure and seamless RDP and SSH access to virtual machines directly through the Azure Portal.

Called Azure Bastion, the new service has been designed as an additional safeguard for the organizations that don’t want to connect to Azure VMs through public internet connections, as it can sometimes lead to the security and connectivity issues.

“Azure Bastion is a new managed PaaS service that provides seamless RDP and SSH connectivity to your virtual machines over the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). This is completed without any exposure of the public IPs on your virtual machines,” Yousef Khalidi, Microsoft wrote in a blog post.

“Azure Bastion provisions directly in your Azure Virtual Network, providing bastion host or jump server as-a-service and integrated connectivity to all virtual machines in your virtual networking using RDP/SSH directly from and through your browser and the Azure portal experience. This can be executed with just two clicks and without the need to worry about managing network security policies.”

With the Azure Bastion, users can start an RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) or SSH (Secure Shell) remote connection directly from the Azure portal using a web browser over SSL. This service will allow the users to access Azure VMs using a private IP address (see diagram below).

In future release, Microsoft plans to integrate Azure Active Directory with the Azure Bastion. The tech giant will also add seamless single sign-on capabilities, use of Azure Active Directory identities, as well as multifactor authentication to extend two-factor authentication to RDP/SSH connections.

There will also be support for RDP/SSH clients to enable them to connect securely with Azure Virtual Machines via Azure Bastion service.

Azure Bastion is currently available in preview.

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VMware refuses support for its virtualization software on Azure cloud

VMware – the leading virtualization and private cloud provider, in a sudden turn of events, retaliated to Microsoft’s efforts of taking away its customers, saying that the customers running its software on Azure cloud will have to forego VMware support.

Microsoft had recently made an announcement for Azure Migrate service – an easy method of moving workloads on VMware’s hypervisors from on-premise to Azure cloud.

At that time, Corey Sanders, Director of Compute, Azure, announced the preview VMware virtualization on Azure, a bare-metal solution that runs the full VMware stack on Azure hardware, co-located with other Azure services, in association with VMware certified partners.

Senior Vice President, Product Development, Cloud Services, VMware – Ajay Patel in a blog said that no VMware-certified partner names have been mentioned nor have any partners collaborated with VMware in engineering this offering.

He also mentioned, “VMware can neither endorse nor recommend Microsoft’s Azure virtualization solution, and will not support customers that use it.

VMware believes that public cloud environments need joint engineering to run enterprise workloads and said that they cannot support an unsupported and non-engineered solution, which is not optimized for the VMware stack.

He also quoted VMware cloud on AWS and IBM cloud for VMware solutions as the recommended partner offerings.

Taking a dig at Microsoft, Patel also mentioned that Microsoft recognizing the leadership position of VMware’s offering and exploring support for VMware on Azure as a superior and necessary solution for customers over Hyper-V or native Azure Stack environments is understandable but, we do not believe this approach will offer customers a good solution to their hybrid or multi-cloud future.

Microsoft will face a tough time getting customers for their VMware virtualization on Azure, as no customer will be willing to take a non-supportive service, unless the mysterious VMware certified partner assures customers on complete support for vSphere and other wares.

It would be interesting to see what Microsoft has to say now. Stay tuned for latest updates.