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VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger speaks at VMworld 2018. (VMware Photo)

One of the biggest obstacles to the growth of cloud computing is inertia, as companies that spent tens of millions of dollars on infrastructure technology years ago try to wring all they can out of those investments. Microsoft and VMware might be putting aside decades of competition to make it easier for those companies to make the leap.

The Information reported Tuesday that VMware is exploring a partnership with Microsoft that sounds an awful lot like the one it forged with Amazon Web Services several years ago. The two companies, which fought bitterly for control of the data center while cloud computing was still getting off the ground, are reportedly working on software that would make it easier for companies that built applications around VMware’s virtualization technology to move those workloads to Microsoft Azure.

The motto of the chief information officer might as well be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Companies that rely on business applications built in the last decade know they will need to modernize their infrastructure at some point in the near future, but the risk of breaking mission-critical applications that are otherwise running just fine holds them back.

After years of fighting against the rise of cloud computing, VMware embraced it in 2016 through a sweeping partnership with AWS that has led to a host of products for big businesses that want the flexibility presented by cloud computing without breaking their investments in VMware’s server virtualization technology. A similar partnership with the second-leading cloud computing provider therefore makes a lot of sense, especially for customers that want to maintain a hybrid cloud infrastructure.

The partnership would also be able to address the looming deadline for Windows Server 2008, which Microsoft will stop supporting in January 2020. A surprising number of companies are still running data centers that use Windows Server 2008, and that means there will be a lot of migration projects unfolding over the course of the year.

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