VMware Cloud on AWS: A hybrid cloud solution

Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2018
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By Dean Gardner
Cloud Chief Technologist


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Hybrid Cloud – The challenge

Over the last 20 years we have seen significant changes in how organisations use and consume technology. From physical hardware to virtualisation and now public cloud, the changes have been fast, frantic and in most cases, expensive. Being able to scale compute, data, improve connectivity and address application development continues to be a challenge. Consolidation of cost, vendors and operating a secure model are becoming key areas for decision makers when bridging between on-premises and public cloud.

Business leaders acknowledge that technology is necessary to drive a competitive edge and enable a digital strategy; cloud can provide a key platform to achieve this. If you are a start-up business then driving a competitive edge using public cloud is a no brainer but many existing businesses must address technical debt as well as incorporate public cloud to compete. This continues to pose many questions around management, maintenance, support and operational governance as workloads can be positioned in any cloud, in any part of the world but against very different operational processes. If you add to this a shortage of technical skills required to join the continually fragmented dots then technology sprawl, cost, connectivity and security will remain a challenge.

At Softcat we believe that hybrid cloud will continue to be the focus for many organisations as they shift through the gears of transformation; however we are increasingly seeing a need to embrace change without the unease associated with a full-blown culture shift. We believe it's important to become more cloud-like, to embrace cloud native and DevOps cultures but these things are difficult and won't happen overnight.

For these reasons Softcat has become a VMware Cloud on AWS partner, one of only a handful officially certified to help you understand how VMWare Cloud on AWS can help drive hybrid cloud adoption in your organisation using technology that you may already have, know and love.

What is VMware Cloud on AWS?

Last year, VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the initial availability of VMware Cloud on AWS in the US, before it came to the UK this year. VMware Cloud on AWS is a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud service that gives customers the VMware software defined data centre (SDDC) running on the AWS Cloud. What's important to remember is that the service is delivered and supported by VMware, enabling existing IT teams to manage their cloud-based resources with familiar VMware tools - without the hassles of learning new skills or utilising new tools.

If your organisation has already invested in VMware vSphere then the minimum requirement to connect to VMware Cloud on AWS is an upgrade to vSphere 6.5. However, to make the most of the software defined benefits, it is worth considering the adoption of NSX to leverage network and security settings across the on-premises and VMware Cloud on AWS instances. The service can also take full advantage of other VMware software that will enhance operational support for services running on VMware and in AWS. This includes vRealize Suite, SRM and/or Storage Policy Based Management, which will provide increased agility and overall cost benefits.

VMware Cloud on AWS brings together VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN, and VMware NSX, managed through vCenter and is optimized to run on elastic, bare-metal AWS infrastructure on a 4-node minimum cluster.

The VMware Cloud on AWS solution enables customers to have the flexibility to integrate private and public cloud environments and to utilise services provided as part of the AWS portfolio, such as EC2 instance and S3 Storage buckets. The VMware on AWS platform is a fully managed service from VMware that is accessed by the customer from the VMware cloud portal. The customer does not have access to the underlying infrastructure but can access via a vCentre, which for many will be familiar.

VMware on AWS is delivered as a subscription model, with pay as you go, 1 or 3-year reserved capacity options. The model is delivered against service levels that provide high availability as part of the offering. As an example, if a host fails then an additional host will be fully provisioned to replace it, there is no need to drive to the DC and replace disks.

Take the alternative route to hybrid cloud

Organisations that need to consolidate datacentres, deliver DR provision without significant 'dark' capital investments, have a cloud first strategy, and existing investment in VMware technology, will find that this service helps provide an alternative route to hybrid cloud. Ultimately if you are not ready to transform your apps to a cloud native format, or rigorously assess every existing workload for public cloud compatibility then this could be a worthy direction of travel and help you move to a true hybrid cloud without significant development effort. In our opinion, this is certainly a step in the right direction, helping customers to join their existing environments to the public cloud with familiar tools and architectures.

Get in touch

Softcat is one of only a small handful of UK launch partners and is already certified to help you understand how VMware Cloud on AWS might fit into your infrastructure and cloud strategy. If you would like to understand more about hybrid cloud please contact your Softcat account manager, or get in touch using the button below.

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