Amazon Web Services (AWS), the leader in the public cloud, and VMware, the leader in private cloud have announced a series of offerings starting in 2016 and most recently in October 2018. These announcements enable customers to run any application across both vSphere and AWS native based private, public and hybrid cloud environments using a common set of software and tools.
This article provides an overview of the various offerings showing the responsibility matrix for the different options and choices available to customers with AWS and VMware. Also shown are the general TCO and agility benefits for these choices.
Note that it is important to evaluate your specific requirements and determine the most appropriate deployment model for your situation. It is also possible to pick multiple deployment models for a hybrid (and multi-cloud) solution that offers the best of public, private, hosted and managed.
Responsibility P: Provided By, M: Managed By
Value H: High, M: Medium, L: Low
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AWS – As We Know It
Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched in 2006 and today is the leading public cloud providers in the world. If offers a collection of web-based cloud services for computing, storage, networking, databases, security, analytics, management, media services, developer tools, IoT, and more. You can easily deploy your applications in multiple regions around the world, allowing you to focus on projects that differentiate your business, not the infrastructure. AWS lets you to get out of the business of managing the data center, platform, and infrastructure services, allowing you to focus on your business applications and customers.
AWS is responsible for managing and securing the infrastructure that runs all of the services offered in the AWS Cloud. The Customer is responsible for the management of the guest operating system (including updates and security patches), application software, and the configuration of the AWS services including access, control, security and firewall that provides security to their applications on AWS cloud.
You trade capital expenses for variable expenses (pay for what you consume) and benefit from massive economies of scale, improving your speed and agility. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is generally much lower than having to incur the expenses of data center, infrastructure, management and operations. It is however, important to manage your cloud costs, as this can easily get out of control quickly as your infrastructure scales.
VMware – As We Know It
VMware started in 1998 and was the de-facto leader in virtualization. It extended to provide a full suite of solutions and capabilities for the software defined data center with software defined networking and storage, cloud automation and management, and digital workspace.
Customers can use their own data centers or a colocation hosting provider of their choice and choose from a variety of hardware vendors to deploy VMware solutions on it – allowing them to transform their legacy data centers into a service-oriented software driven private cloud.
Depending on the choice of a hosting provider, the customer would be responsible for various aspects of the infrastructure management. While the solution and capabilities offer agility compared to legacy approaches, it is limited to the physical capacity available within the data center.
The TCO is relatively high since this required a large capex for the data centers, platform, management and operations. However, this approach is still preferred for a number of business applications and data due to corporate or regulatory requirements, data locality requirements, etc.
AWS VMware 2016 Announcement – VMC on AWS
VMware announced VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC on AWS) in 2016. VMC on AWS is a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud offering (based on VMware Cloud Foundation) that gives customers a full VMware SDDC experience on AWS cloud running on AWS hardware in AWS data centers, enabling them to run any application across VMware vSphere based private, managed, public, and hybrid cloud environments. This is sold and supported by VMware and VMware partners as an on-demand, elastically scalable service leveraging AWS’s global footprint and breadth of services.
The data centers and physical infrastructure (servers, network, storage) is provided by and managed by AWS. VMware is the single point of contact for the customer and is responsible for managing the VMware Cloud solution. This includes day two operations of patches and upgrades.
Since this is a managed service, the TCO is generally lower than having to incur the expenses of data center, infrastructure, management and operations. There is a minimum number of hosts required (three to four), each with plenty of memory and number of CPU cores – so there will be a minimum number of workloads to run here before it becomes viable.
Customers who have an on-premise VMware environment can quickly and easily add additional data center capacity in AWS regions for a number of use cases. For example, if you have a disaster recovery site, you can consider getting rid of it and use VMC on AWS – you would be paying for a limited number of hosts and storage and can quickly scale out and add physical capacity for a DR test or an actual DR failover event. Other use cases can be expansion, migration, consolidation, workload flexibility, disaster recovery/backup, cyclical capacity, test and development.
AWS Outposts Native 2018 Announcement
AWS announced AWS Outposts on 28 November 2018 which brings AWS designed compute and storage hardware on-premises to provide customers a consistent, seamless experience between customers’ on-premises data centers or colocation facilities and AWS cloud. AWS Outposts hardware would be running native AWS services and would be managed by AWS. The services available would include the core AWS services like EC2, RDS, etc. All the services would not be available, and more services will be added over time.
Customers that have a regulatory or business requirement to keep their environment in-house would now be able to meet their requirements while taking advantage of the AWS cloud capabilities on-premises or colocation facilities.
Note that these services will be available later in 2019.
VMC on AWS Outposts 2018 Announcement
VMware also announced VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts on 28 November 2018. This is essentially the VMware Cloud Foundation software defined services for compute, network, storage, and management running on AWS Outposts hardware in customers’ on-premises data centers or colocation facilities. This can run virtual machines, containers, Kubernetes based applications.
This is a managed service and is similar to VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC on AWS) that was announced in 2016 – this is now available to run on-premises or colocation facilities, managed by VMware or one of the VMware partners. Customers that have use cases for data center modernization, hybrid extensibility, and application modernization can take advantage of this offering.
Another announcement by VMware (but not shown in the table) is VMware Cloud Foundation for EC2, which will be a new VCF that is natively built to support all EC2 workloads and unify networking, security, cloud management, data protection, and application development across EC2 environments. This will provide VMware’s core SDDC capabilities for all EC2 environments in the cloud and on premises. This offering will have an integrated support model between AWS and VMware based on the deployment model.
Note that this service is expected to be available later in 2019, and earlier for select early access customers.