VMware Cloud™ on AWS – A Managed Service Provider’s Perspective

VMware Cloud™  on AWS brings VMware’s enterprise-class Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) software to the AWS Cloud and enables customers to run production applications across VMware vSphere®-based private, public, and hybrid cloud environments with optimized access to AWS. Datapipe is one of three managed service providers (MSPs) initially announcing its intent to build an offering on the platform. Datapipe is a member of the VMware Cloud Provider Program and was an active participant in the VMware Cloud on AWS Project Early Access Beta program over the course of 2017, providing technical and business feedback to the joint development teams.

As part of our ongoing partnership, Datapipe will work with VMware to develop VMware’s MSP model, which will allow Datapipe to deliver a complete VMWare Cloud on AWS solution. We’re excited to help shape the MSP model that will allow MSPs like Datapipe to leverage VMware Cloud on AWS services for our clients.

Benefits of VMware Cloud on AWS

Often enterprises are given a binary choice between private and public cloud as their deployment options. In these cases, many enterprises have a hybrid environment where two different teams manage two separate hosting platforms. VMware Cloud on AWS offers a hybrid platform where IT organizations have access to both public and private while retaining the ability to shift workloads seamlessly between them. Being able to live migrate and extend into a virtual machine without having to reconfigure an application provides a much more flexible environment.

VMware Cloud on AWS allows access to the range of AWS services as an extension of an existing VMware solution. IT organizations can rent a VMware SDDC using some of the latest technologies with the flexibility of the pay as you go model. Companies can quickly add capacity to a new project or move workloads hosted on dedicated hardware to the cloud.

Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, notes the partnership between VMware and AWS will give customers access to a consistent, seamless cloud environment that “combines the VMware software they love with the unmatched functionality, security, and operational expertise of the AWS Cloud.”

“The majority of the world’s enterprises have virtualized their data centers with VMware,” Jassy adds. “Now these customers can easily move applications between their on-premises environments and AWS without having to purchase any new hardware, rewrite their applications, or modify their operations.”

VMware Cloud on AWS allows you to create vSphere data centers on Amazon Web Services.  These vSphere data centers include vCenter Server for managing your data center, vSAN for storage, and VMware NSX for networking. Using Hybrid Linked Mode, you can connect an on-premises data center to your cloud SDDC and manage both from a single vSphere Client interface. With your connected AWS account, you can access AWS services such as EC2 and S3 from virtual machines in your SDDC.

Organizations that adopt VMware Cloud on AWS will see these benefits:

  • A broad set of AWS services and infrastructure elasticity for VMware SDDC environments.
  • Flexibility to strategically choose where to run applications based on business needs.
  • Proven capabilities of VMware SDDC software and AWS Cloud to deliver customer value.
  • Seamless, fast, and bi-directional workload portability between private and public clouds.

As an Early Access Partner, Datapipe received access to the beta platform in early 2017 and provided feedback on roadmap sessions that included areas like UX, platform features prioritization, Networking/VPN, and the partner-focused Managed Services Provider program.

When you deploy an SDDC on VMware Cloud on AWS, it’s created within an AWS account and VPC dedicated to your organization. The Management Gateway is an NSX Edge Security gateway that provides connectivity to the vCenter Server and NSX Manager running in the SDDC. The internet-facing IP address is assigned from a pool of AWS public IP addresses during SDDC creation. The Compute Gateway provides connectivity for VMs, and VMware Cloud on AWS creates a logical network to provide networking capability for these VMs. A connection to an AWS account is required, and you need to select a VPC and subnet within that account. You can only connect an SDDC to a single Amazon VPC, and an SDDC has a minimum of four hosts.

The screenshot above shows the connection of the Management and Compute networks. Firewall rules for the management gateway can be configured as required. Creating a management VPN allows you to securely access the vCenter service system and your SDDC deployment, allowing for easy transfer of VM templates and disk images to your SDDC in the cloud.

Presently, these AWS machines offer one server configuration: a two-socket Xeon server with 18 cores per socket with HyperThreading. This virtual machine has 512 GB of memory and 15 TB of flash storage on the node.

Some uses of the new platform include:

  • Rapidly deploying secure, enterprise-grade AWS cloud-based resources that are operationally consistent with vSphere-based clouds.
  • Copying an object from a virtual machine in VMware Cloud on AWS to S3.
  • Using X-vMotion to migrate a virtual machine from a data center to VMware Cloud on AWS.
  • Connecting a virtual machine in VMware Cloud on AWS to Amazon RDS or DynamoDB.
  • Connect web server hosted on a virtual machine in VMware Cloud on AWS using public internet access.

VMware and AWS continue to enhance the platform and related tools. In a recent blog, VMware announced a new VMC assessment tool, which can provide an estimate of the number of hosts you’ll need, the estimated cost, and a simple cost comparison to your current environment. The assessment tool supports the two main ways customers often intend to move workloads into the cloud: choosing specific VMs to migrate and retiring old hardware and moving over entire clusters at once. These two methods can be combined to create a precise assessment of your needs.

Check out the blogs below and watch some VMworld sessions to keep up on the latest updates:

Enterprises will look to MSPs like Datapipe to provide assistance with application assessments, strategy, migration planning, network connectivity options, governance models, single management frameworks, integrate billing, enhanced security, setting up backups/DR, optimization services, and complimentary services.

Datapipe has extensive expertise in providing a plan, build, and run approach for AWS with its full-service offering and has a long-standing partnership with VMware. When combined with its capabilities on the new VMware Cloud on AWS platform, this expertise will allow Datapipe to deliver unique value in helping clients leverage these two leading platforms to their full potential.

David Lucky is a product marketing expert on the Public Cloud marketing team at Rackspace focusing on Fanatical Support for AWS and for the Alibaba Cloud. He works with engineering and sales teams to identify and prioritize customer requirements to migrate and securely manage their cloud deployments. David came to Rackspace from Datapipe where as director of product management for six years he led product development in building services to help enterprise clients leverage managed IT services to solve complex business challenges. David has unique insight into the latest product developments for private, public and hybrid cloud platforms and a keen understanding of industry trends and their impact on business development. He holds an engineering degree from Lehigh University and is based out of Jersey City, NJ. You can follow David on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/davidlucky and Twitter @Luckys_Blog.