Microsoft server software support for Azure virtual machines
This article discusses the support policy for running Microsoft server software in the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine environment (infrastructure-as-a-service).
Original product version: Virtual Machine running Windows, Cloud Services (Web roles/Worker roles)
Original KB number: 2721672
Microsoft supports server software that runs in the Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine environments, as described in the "Supported software" section. This support is subject to the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy. For more information, go to the following Microsoft website: Microsoft Support Lifecycle.
All Microsoft, software that's installed in the Azure virtual machine environment must be licensed correctly. By default, Azure virtual machines include a license for using Windows Server in the Microsoft Azure environment. Certain Azure virtual machine offerings may also include additional Microsoft software on a per-hour or evaluation basis. Licenses for other software must be obtained separately. For information about the Microsoft License Mobility program, see Volume licensing.
In some cases, specific versions of Microsoft server software are required for support. These versions are noted in this article, and the supported versions may be updated as required.
Microsoft does not support an upgrade of the operating system of a Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine. (For more information, see KB 4014997.) Instead, you should create a new Azure virtual machine that is running the supported version of the operating system that is required and then migrate the workload. Instructions for how to migrate Windows Server roles and features are available in the following TechNet topic: Install, use, and remove Windows Server migration tools.
Microsoft supports the following Microsoft server software that's running in the Azure virtual machine environment:
Azure AD Connect
Azure AD Connect is supported. For more information, see Prerequisites for Azure AD Connect.
Microsoft BizTalk Server
Microsoft BizTalk Server 2013 and later versions are supported. For more information, see BizTalk offerings: Server, IaaS, and PaaS feature list.
Microsoft Dynamics AX
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 and later updates are supported. For more information, see the following TechNet topic: Deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3 on Azure.
Microsoft Dynamics GP
Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and later versions are supported.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV
Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 and later versions are supported.
Exchange Server 2013 and later versions are supported. For more information, see the "Requirements for hardware virtualization" section of the following TechNet topic: Exchange 2013 virtualization.
The only supported way to send email to external domains from Azure compute resources is through an SMTP relay (otherwise known as an SMTP smart host). The Azure compute resource sends the email message to the SMTP relay, and then the SMTP relay provider delivers the message to the external domain. Microsoft Exchange Online Protection is one provider of a SMTP relay, but a number of third-party providers also offer this service.
Microsoft Forefront Identity Manager
Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2 SP1 and later versions are supported.
Microsoft HPC Pack
Microsoft HPC Pack 2012 and later versions are supported. For more information, see the "Microsoft Azure integration" section of the following TechNet topic: What's new in Microsoft HPC Pack 2012
Microsoft Project Server
Project Server 2013 and later versions are supported.
Microsoft SharePoint Server
SharePoint Server 2010 and later versions are supported on Azure virtual machines.
Microsoft SQL Server
64-bit versions of SQL Server 2008 and later versions are supported. For more information, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article: 956893 Support policy for Microsoft SQL Server products that are running in a hardware virtualization environment
Now Azure supports Failover Cluster Instances (FCI). For more information, see Create an FCI with Storage Spaces Direct (SQL Server on Azure VMs).
Microsoft System Center
System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and later versions are supported for the following applications:
- Configuration Manager
- Data Protection Manager
- Endpoint Protection
- Operations Manager
- Server Application Virtualization
- Service Manager
For more information about Configuration Manager and Endpoint Protection support, see the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article: 2889321 System Center 2012 Configuration Manager and System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection support for Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines
Microsoft Team Foundation Server
Team Foundation Server 2012 and later versions are supported.
Windows Server 2016 Standard is not available in the Azure Marketplace.
Windows Server 2003 and later versions are supported for deployment in Microsoft Azure. Click here to see more information about running Windows Server 2003 on Azure.
For versions that are earlier than Windows Server 2008 R2, there is no Azure Marketplace support, and customers must provide their own images. The ability to deploy an operating system on Microsoft Azure is independent of the support status of the operating system. Microsoft does not support operating systems that are past their End of Support date without a Custom Support Agreement (CSA). For example, Windows Server 2003/2003 R2 is no longer supported without a CSA.
Windows Server 2008 R2 and later versions are supported for the following roles unless explicitly noted otherwise (this list will be updated as new roles are confirmed):
Active Directory Certificate Services
Whether you're extending an existing public key infrastructure (PKI) or planning to deploy a new PKI in the Azure environment, there are best practices, policies, and recommendations to mitigate many of the common insecurities and shortcomings. Not all the recommendations are applicable to every customer scenario. Consider the level of protection that is required for your business through a risk assessment. Before you deploy, make sure that you can implement those controls.
Active Directory Domain Services
Active Directory Federation Services
Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services
Hyper-V role is supported in Azure Ev3, and Dv3 series VMs
Network Policy and Access Services
Print and Document Services
Remote Desktop Services
Web Server (IIS)
Windows Server Update Service
Requirements for Windows Server Failover Cluster
Must Run Windows Server 2008 R2 or later version
For Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2, must have hotfix 2854082 installed on all nodes
Must use a single-cluster IP address resource
Must use Azure-hosted storage by using one of the following options:
- Application-level replication for nonshared storage
- Volume-level replication for nonshared storage
- ExpressRoute for remote iSCSI Target shared block storage
- Azure Files for shared file storage
For example: SQL Server Always On availability groups. For more information, see the following MSDN article: High availability and disaster recovery for SQL Server in Azure virtual machines.
Can be a third-party clustered role
Third-party clustered roles are supported by the vendor
For more information about licensing restrictions that are related to Remote Desktop Services in Microsoft Azure, see Virtual machines Licensing FAQ. For technical information about how to configure Remote Desktop Services in Microsoft Azure for session hosting by using Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2012 R2, see Azure Desktop Hosting - Reference Architecture and Deployment Guides.
The following roles are not supported on Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines:
- Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol Server (not supported for use on a NIC directly connected to an Azure VNet, but it is supported on internal networks used in nested virtualization scenarios)
- Hyper-V (Hyper-V role is supported in Azure Ev3, and Dv3 series VMs only)
- Rights Management Services
- Windows Deployment Services
Windows Server features
The following significant features are not supported:
- BitLocker Drive Encryption (on the operating system hard disk, may be used on data disks)
- Internet Storage Name Server
- Multipath I/O
- Network Load Balancing
- Peer Name Resolution Protocol
- Direct Access
- SNMP Services
- Storage Manager for SANs
- Windows Internet Name Service
- Wireless LAN Service
Download the Azure Virtual Machine Readiness Assessment. This assessment helps you make your move to Azure virtual machines. It automatically inspects your on-premises environment, whether that environment is physical or already virtualized. If you are running Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), SharePoint Server, or SQL Server, this tool makes it easy for you to get started.
The optimization assessment provides prioritized recommendations across six focus areas to optimize your experience while running in Azure. After a short questionnaire, automated data collection and analysis, a custom report is generated. The report includes an executive summary, key, and detail recommendations which provide a high-level view across the focus areas to help you manage, prioritize, and implement the recommendations.
In Virtual Machines Image Gallery, you can find prebuilt Linux images that are provided by commercial distributors. For a complete list, go to the following Microsoft website: Linux on Microsoft Azure-endorsed distributions.
Our partners offer tools and finished services that you can integrate with your applications that run on Azure virtual machines. For a complete list of add-ons for Microsoft Azure Store, go to Azure Marketplace.
VM Depot is a community-driven catalog of preconfigured operating systems, applications, and development stacks that can be deployed on Microsoft Azure. These images are provided and licensed to you by community members. Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. does not screen these images for security, compatibility, or performance, and does not provide any license rights or support for them. By using unsupported images, you might forfeit Microsoft Azure availability SLA. For more information, see Using and contributing to VM Depot.
Supplemental guidance is available to help you use the following technologies on Azure virtual machines:
- Active Directory Domain Services: Guidelines for deploying Windows Server Active Directory in Azure virtual machines.
- For information about Office activation on Azure virtual machines, see Microsoft Office prompts for activation in Azure.
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