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AWS VMware hybrid solutions: the best of both worlds

Looking for the right hybrid on-premise/cloud balance for your VMware infrastructure? There’s probably an AWS VMware solution that’s just right.

If you’re looking to the cloud for the solutions to all of mankind’s many problems, you’re in for a disappointment. Chewing gum will always lose its flavor after a while. So there’s that. But even the IT world has scenarios for which the cloud has nothing to offer: some applications need to live on-premise because of security, legacy hardware, or compliance issues. Since it’s getting harder to maintain entirely local deployments, many look to balance their on-premise resources with cloud connectivity. If your on-premise tools include a VMware stack, then some kind of AWS VMware solution could work for you.

What can an AWS VMware hybrid solution offer

In general, hybrid computing combines the resources of both public and on-premise infrastructure. Intelligently designed combinations can sometimes prove far more effective than single-host deployments.

  • Security: many users can’t expose their critical data to the public cloud because of security and regulatory concerns. So, for example, they might use a public platform to host their web application, but keep their database on-premise. They could also create very fast AWS-VMware connections using Amazon’s Direct Connect or a VPN.
  • Disaster Recovery: a primary design principle for successful disaster recovery strategies is to keep your backup data as geographically distant from a potential disaster site (i.e., your data center) as possible. When you use AWS S3 or Glacier for storage, adding incremental transfers at regular intervals, you’ve got that one nailed.
  • Product proof of concept: even if your prototype product could never be deployed on AWS in production, you can still use the public cloud for a quick proof of concept demonstration. No matter how much server and storage power you’ll need, using AWS you’ll never pay for what you don’t actually use, as you’ll completely decommission your resources once the demo is complete.
  • Use hard-to-reproduce cloud services: while you may decide to keep your main infrastructure elements on-premise, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of those particularly attractive AWS services (like S3 and Cloudfront) that are difficult  to build in your datacenter.

Nothing is impossible. It’s all about understanding what’s available and implementing proper design. So here are three approaches you could take (besides my own thoughts on the topic from a few months ago):

AWS VMware stack integration offerings

VM Import/Export

AWS’s VM Import/Export makes it simple to convert VM images to EC2 instances and back again. Through the AWS CLI, individual server images or entire infrastructures can be moved between your data center and the AWS cloud. There’s no need to abandon either the configurations or the security of your deployments, and you’re definitely not locking yourself into any one platform choice.

AWS Management Portal for vCenter

If you’ve already been using VMware’s vSphere virtualization platform – and particularly their vCenter Server management tool – then the AWS Management Portal for vCenter will make your connections and conversions straightforward.
The Portal is a plugin that lets you migrate, create and manage VMware images alongside your AWS resources. The look-and-feel and the workflow that you use to create new AWS resources will be familiar. You can download the AWS Management Portal for vCenter and install it into your existing vSphere Client:

AWS VMware
AWS vCenter Management Portal

AWS Direct Connect

In hybrid cloud environments, you will always need connectivity between your on-premise VMware servers and AWS. As we’ve discussed, security – and especially the security of your data in transit – is a very important concern whenever you’re working with more than one location. You can greatly lower your risks through AWS Direct Connect. Direct Connect is a dedicated, high capacity, secure and private link that you can create between your site and an AWS location.
Direct Connect can add to your AWS VMware balance and help you reduce bandwidth costs, while providing consistent network performance and private connectivity.

AWS VMware
AWS Direct Connect

Written by

My professional IT career began nine years back when I was just out of my college. I worked with a great team as an infrastructure management engineer, managing hundreds of enterprise application servers. I found my passion when I got the opportunity to work with Cloud technologies: I'm addicted to AWS Cloud Services, DevOps engineering, and all the cloud tools and technologies that make engineers' lives easier. Currently, I am working as a Solution Architect in SixNines IT. We are an experienced team of engineers that have helped hundreds of customers move to the cloud responsibly. I have achieved 5 AWS certifications, happily helping fellow engineers across the globe through my blogs and answering questions in various forums.

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