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VMware Cloud on AWS
In today's world where cloud computing is a key strategy for many organizations, having the right deployment is essential. Some organizations implement private clouds within their own local data center, others host their entire infrastructure on the public cloud. However, many organizations have a need to implement a hybrid cloud architecture, combining elements of both the public and private clouds. VMware Cloud on AWS provides a simple and effective method of establishing a hybrid cloud environment.
VMware is a leading vendor when it comes to the virtualization of resources such as compute, storage, and network infrastructure. As a result, many organizations have used or currently utilize VMware within their own data center to manage and optimize their environment, often in their own private clouds.
VMware Cloud on AWS allows you to seamlessly transition your VM workloads to the AWS cloud to take advantage of the benefits that a public cloud can provide such as:
- On-demand resourcing
- High availability
- Utility-based metering
- Regional expansion
This integration with AWS also opens up the potential to allow for communication between your VMs and the many services and features that AWS provides. This means your apps and resources in VMware Cloud on AWS can take advantage of AWS object storage such as S3, NoSQL databases such as DynamoDB, EC2 instances, and much more.
The service itself runs on bare-metal architecture allowing the continuation of ESXi hypervisors running the same suite of VMware software and management products as you do on-premises. Both environments can be controlled by VMware vCenter to allow ease of management.
This course takes an introductory look at VMware Cloud on AWS, providing an overview of what it is, how it can benefit your business, its underlying architecture, its integration with AWS and its service, and much more.
By the end of this course you will:
- Be able to explain the components of the Software Defined Data Center provided by VMware
- Understand what the VMware Cloud on AWS service is
- Have an understanding on how VMware Cloud on AWS could provide benefits to you and your business
- Have an awareness of how VMware Cloud on AWS connects to your AWS account and how you could provide communication between that and your SDDC
- Understand how maintenance and support is provided across the service
- Be able to explain a range of different use cases that you as a business could utilise the service for
- Understand how much the service is likely to cost
This course would be of benefit to:
- Business managers looking to understand what VMware Cloud on AWS can provide the enterprise
- VMware and AWS Architects looking to understand how VMware Cloud on AWS works in conjunction with the AWS public cloud and VMware’s private on-premise architecture
- Anyone who wants to gain an introductory understanding of the VMware Cloud on AWS service
This introductory course does not go into detail about how to configure and implement the VMware Cloud on AWS service, instead it’s designed to provide you with enough information to understand what it is and what it’s used for. However, as a prerequisite to this course, it would be advantageous, but not essential to have a basic understanding of:
- Cloud computing, including deployment models such as public, private, and hybrid clouds (which you can learn about in our What Is Cloud Computing? course)
- Virtualisation principles, such as what a hypervisor is (check out our Introduction to Virtualization Technologies course)
- VMware vSphere products
- AWS Virtual Private Clouds and their configuration (AWS VPCs are covered in detail in our AWS Networking and Content Delivery learning path)
This course includes
If you have thoughts or suggestions for this course, please contact Cloud Academy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello and welcome to this lecture, where I shall be discussing the different benefits that VMware Cloud on AWS can bring to you within the enterprise.
You may be familiar with VMware virtualization and its private cloud already, but how does this integration with AWS public cloud provide a benefit to you as an organization?
Let me take you through a few of these benefits. Typically, when an organization is looking to utilize AWS to migrate and consolidate all or some of their infrastructure, there would be a lengthy transformation program, defined to understand exactly how onsite infrastructure would be migrated to operate and run within the cloud, while maintaining communications with your own corporate data center. And this may involve redesigning applications to be cloud-ready, addressing compatibility issues, creating a range of new Amazon machine images with the appropriately backed instances, defining how to integrate the transition of data between on-premises services with AWS services, defining how to manage the different management tool sets between on-premises and the AWS management console, and retraining operational and technical staff on how to use a new platform, along with many, many more elements of a typical transformation program. Because VMware cloud on AWS runs on Bare Metal host, it's possible to continue using the same ESXI hypervisors and the same vSphere suite of products as you do within your data center today, essentially creating an extension to your existing Vmware environment, but on AWS in the public cloud.
This negates the need to be concerned with many of these transformation problems. For example, you wouldn't need to redesign your apps, as they would run on the same VM's as you have in your own data center. And likewise, you wouldn't have to worry about compatibility issues, retraining, or be concerned about integrating a new management tool set provided by AWS. All VM's would continue to be managed and maintained by vCenter server.
If you are running VMware on premises, you will be all too familiar with the headache that it can cause when you need to provision additional hosts for your compute clusters. You will need to ascertain how many servers you need, what specification, and how much you should over-provision for, as under-provisioning would only cause you more problems than it's worth. You need to take into account for host failures, or for when workload traffic across your VM suddenly bursts. With VMware cloud on AWS, this need for future capacity planning is reduced significantly, as your host can be available and on demand as and when you need them. No more future-proofing, no more wasted resources and cost on an environment that has been over-provisioned, and no more headaches.
Traditionally, deploying new hosts in your data center can take weeks or even months in some circumstances from point of order to installation. Once you have defined the additional hardware you need, you need to have it signed off by purchasing. You then need to order the hardware, wait for delivery lead times, implement change management before then getting it installed and cabled within the data center. All in all, a lengthy process. In today's world, even waiting days for additional resources is often unacceptable. Using VMware Cloud on AWS, you have the ability to provision new hosts to scan out your cluster as and when you need them, depending on traffic demand, for example. These hosts will be available to you in low double digit minutes, in 15-20 minutes or so. No more waiting weeks or months for new infrastructure to be installed into your local data center.
This allows you to scale out your resources, providing flexibility in managing your compute and storage clusters. As well as scanning out, it's also very easy to remove a redundant host from your cluster when traffic has reduced, and you no longer need them, relinquishing them back into the available pool of hosts, and therefore reducing your costs.
VMware Cloud on AWS utilizes the same set of vSphere management tools and features such as vSAN, vCenter Server, vMotion, and vDRS, etc. As a result, the ease of transition to running VMware on AWS does not require your employees to understand and learn a new set of tools to manage the infrastructure and virtualized environment. Instead, it is bedn designed for the entire VMware management, both on-premises and in the SDDC, to be seen through a single pane of glass. This means it can all be seen and managed by vCenter Server as one environment. Yet you also benefit from the flexibility that AWS provides, with the underlying host architecture. As you are using the same tools and management layers, it's easy to continue with the same processes and procedures for maintaining and operating your environment.
When you have your SDDC running using VMware Cloud on AWS, you can reduce the amount of space you need to provision, along with the amount of power and cooling within your data center that you need for additional ESXI hosts.
This can significantly help to reduce your Capex and Opex costs. You will no longer have to foresee footprint expansion within your own data center or site, or within a co-location data center. In addition to this, neither will you need to worry about the additional maintenance or hardware, as the responsibility of this will shift to VMware.
The VMware cloud on AWS service itself is managed, provided, and operated solely by VMware. You do not have to speak with AWS to configure your SDDC. As a result, there is a level of maintenance that VMware provides on your behalf as a part of the service, such as patches to your VMware software, such as ESXI or vCenter, etc. They will also manage host upgrades and will respond to host failures on your behalf. Therefore, you no longer have to worry about this maintenance for host-running in your SDDC. I shall cover more maintenance and support in a later lecture.
Once your SDDC is configured and operational, you will have a lot of flexibility in managing the workloads. You can move them to and from your on-premises data center, and the SDDC, as and when you need to. This allows you to easily take advantage of the burst capacity provided within the cloud if you need the extra resource for your VM workload. Let's say, for example, you did need the extra resource for burst capacity, either for compute or storage needs. It's very easy and simple to scale your VM cluster out in a matter of minutes.
From a compute perspective, your cluster size could easily scale from 2 TB of memory with 144 CPU cores, to 8 TB of memory, with 576 CPU cores. Similarly, your storage can scale from 40 terabyte vSAN Datastore using 32 NVMe devices, and grow to 160 terabyte vSAN across 128 NVMe devices.
This in itself brings a level of comfort and support for customers, allowing them to run their VMS at a much higher utilization than normal as they would on premise, knowing that should the need come to scale, it would be possible in a matter of minutes.
As your SDDC is running on top of AWS provision host, managed by vSphere, we have the ability to have high bandwidth, low latency access into native AWS services and features by the compute gateway and ENI in your VPC. This allows you to take advantage of object storage using S3, NoSQL databases such as DynamoDB, or even the latest machine-learning and AI features and services offered. Having these services available to you significantly offers you the potential to grow, expand, and innovate your existing applications to take advantage of these offerings.
As I have already mentioned, the VMware cloud on AWS services is only currently running in the US West Oregon region of AWS. There are reports that it will expand out globally throughout 2018, with the initial plans of the service being available in the US East Virginia region later in 2017, and the London version in early 2018.
So going forward, you'll be able to create your SDDC's across a wide range of regions, as and when you need them. This could bring significant benefits to not only your customers, but your organization, too, by reducing latency to your services, as you can deliver the solution closer to the source of consumption.
In addition to this, it allows you to provide a regional presence to new or existing customers. All of this can be done using the console or API's, and it will be provisioned through the VMware cloud on AWS service.
Finally, I want to mention the cost benefits that VMware cloud and AWS brings. Typically, with a private cloud on-premises, you will have a high Capex cost, as you'll need to purchase all of the hardware from compute, storage, and networking perspective. As a part of this, you will inevitably be purchasing hardware with the foresight of capacity planning and will over-provision the hardware required. On top of this, you will also be paying for power and cooling within your data center, which plays a huge part of your operational data center costs.
This capital expenditure is not necessary when using VMware cloud on AWS. You do not need to purchase any hardware upfront. In fact, there are no upfront costs at all for your SDDC. It is sold as a service where you only pay for the hosts when they are provisioned, and if you need to make your cluster bigger, you pay for the additional hosts. If you need to scale a cluster in, you remove the host, and you no longer pay for the resource.
This saves huge amounts from a Capex perspective. In addition to this, you won't need to hold a separate maintenance agreement to fix or replace any host hardware issues. All of this is resolved by VMware. The list of benefits to the enterprise can go on and on. Here, however, I've listed just a few key benefits.
As you can see, the potential offered to the enterprise is significant when using this service. It might not be right for every use case; however, for many workloads, the benefits are there to be taken.
That now brings me to the end of this lecture. Coming up in the next lecture, I will be talking more about the integration between your VMware workloads and the services offered by AWS.
About the Author
Stuart has been working within the IT industry for two decades covering a huge range of topic areas and technologies, from data centre and network infrastructure design, to cloud architecture and implementation.
To date Stuart has created over 40 courses relating to Cloud, most within the AWS category with a heavy focus on security and compliance
He is AWS certified and accredited in addition to being a published author covering topics across the AWS landscape.
In January 2016 Stuart was awarded ‘Expert of the Year Award 2015’ from Experts Exchange for his knowledge share within cloud services to the community.
Stuart enjoys writing about cloud technologies and you will find many of his articles within our blog pages.