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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
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Hello and welcome to this final lecture in this course where I want to provide a list of key points taken from each of the previous lectures.
I started this course by explaining what a software defined data center is and here we learned that an SDDC virtualizes compute storage and network resources across a cluster of hosts within the AWS public cloud.
These virtualized resources are managed by VMware products and applications which cover VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN, VMware NSX and VMware vCenter Server. To understand what these products are at a high level I explained that:
- VMware vSphere is a collection of management applications and products by VMware that help create and manage your compute virtual machines and virtual workloads.
- VMware vSAN makes it possible to combine the storage from each host within the SDDC cluster and virtualize it into a highly resilient shared datastore for each host in the cluster to utilize.
- VMware NSX enables networks to be virtualized and embedded at the hypervisor level. This includes network services such as routing, switching and even firewalls.
- VMware vCenter Server provides a centralized management platform for your software defined data center. This gives an insight into the overall health of the virtualized environment.
I also covered that VMware Cloud on AWS is built upon VMware Cloud Foundation which enables the ability to seamlessly run the same VMware virtualization and products used on premises and in the Public Cloud such as AWS.
Following this lecture I covered the service itself explaining what it is and its underlying architecture. To recap, VMware Cloud on AWS is sold as a service by VMware which allows you to run applications across VMware's vSphere suite of products within an SDDC hosted on top of the AWS Public Cloud.
From an infrastructure perspective VMware Cloud on AWS runs on bare metal infrastructure which means the host belongs to a single customer and secondly, the host is not running any virtualization software. Instead it uses its own ESXi bare metal type 1 hypervisor and it does not support nested virtualization.
I then started to look at the hardware itself. From the compute perspective each contains 512GB of memory, dual CPU sockets containing Intel Xeon processor v4 CPUs and each socket contains 18 cores running at 2.3 GHz.
From a storage standpoint, each host in the cluster contains the following storage, 8 NVMe devices which provides a total of 10 TB of raw storage capacity. Looking at storage encryption, I explained that it's not possible to encrypt data at the datastore level or VM level. As a result AWS performs encryption at the firmware level for all NVMe devices.
And, the minimum SDDC cluster size is currently set at four hosts and maximum cluster size is 16 hosts.
Next, I focused on networking. In this section I covered the following points. VMware Cloud on AWS utilizes VMware NSX and VMware NSX provides a bridge between your own on premises data center, the SDDC running on AWS and your virtual private cloud, VPC.
There are two gateways required within your SDDC for communication with your on premises data center. One is for management traffic and another is for compute and application traffic, and these two gateways are A Management Edge Gateway and a Compute Gateway. Hybrid Linked Mode allows connectivity between your on premises vCenter Server and the one running in your SDDC. Your SDDC must be associated to an existing VPC and Subnet within your AWS account. And, an ENI, elastic network interface, will be created within your own AWS account during your SDDC creation connecting back to your Compute Gateway.
Next, I provided a number of benefits that VMware Cloud and AWS could provide to your business, starting with there's no transformation project required due to the simplicity of being able to continue managing all VMs using vCenter Server as if they were on premises and there's no need for excessive capacity planning.
With on demand resourcing there's no need to perform capacity planning at the same level as you do on premises.
There's quicker resource availability. Hosts could be provisioned to you in low double digit minutes. Toolset and process familiarity. The VMware Cloud on AWS utilizes the same set of vSphere management tools and features such as vSAN, vCenter Server, vMotion and VDRS, et cetera.
You can reduce your data center footprint. Your resources would be running in the cloud removing the need for additional footprint space in your data center.
You would also have reduced management and maintenance. VMware Cloud and AWS is managed and maintained by VMware, such as patching and hardware replacements due to failures.
Flexibility and elasticity of your VM workloads. It's easy to scale your infrastructure in and out depending on demand along with moving workloads between your SDDC and your on premises data center.
You can also leverage AWS services and features using a high bound with low latency link between your Compute Gateway and ENI. You can access native AWS services and features.
Geoexpansion. This gives you the ability to create SDDCs across a wide range of regions as and when you need them.
And cost, there are no up front Cap Ex costs when setting up your SDDC and you only pay for resources when you need them in your SDDC.
The list of benefits to the enterprise can go on and on, however, these are just a few.
Next, I dive deeper into the interaction that's possible between your SDDC and AWS services. Within this lecture I'll explain that during the creation of your SDDC a link is established between your Compute Gateway and your AWS VPC via an ENI. To communicate over this link requires firewall and routing changes in both your SDDC and your VPC. Firewall rules can be configured for your SDDC using the VMware Cloud on AWS portal for inbound and outbound traffic between your Compute Gateway and the connected VPC. Similarly, security groups in AWS can be configured and updated to allow communication from your SDDC to your resources in your VPC.
AWS route tables would also need to be configured to allow traffic to route back across to the SDDC via the VPC ENI. And, some services require a VPC endpoint to be configured before connectivity can be established. I also provided an example of how AWS edge services could be used in front of your SDDC VMs to provide a level of security and filtering before web traffic entered the network.
Following this lecture I explained more about how support and maintenance works for VMware Cloud on AWS. VMware is responsible for monitoring and maintaining the underlying physical hosts within your cluster within your SDDC including replacements and restarts. VMware will perform all patching and updates across VMware products.
So, in essence, VMware are responsible for the SDDC software and the underlying physical components of the architecture. VMware remains the contact point for all issues with the service and VMware will coordinate with AWS on your behalf.
Next I covered a number of use cases where Vmware Cloud on AWS can be used effectively and these included, application migration, regional expansion, data center consolidation, burst capacity and test and development workloads.
Finally, I explained the pricing models for the service and here we learned that there were two different pricing options, on demand which has no up front costs, no long term contracts and you pay by the hour for as long as it's within your SDDC.
Whereas, reserved offers a potential 50% discount over on demand. The reserve term is for one or three years and you pay up front costs for the reservation. You would typically use reserved pricing when you have a known and constant requirement for compute and storage. I gave an example in the pricing lecture that explained you could achieve a saving of over $220,000 by using reserved pricing over on demand if you were to have two hosts that were running for three years.
The hybrid loyalty program offers an additional 25% discount depending on your current on premises licenses and for every 2CPU licenses you hold on premises with an eligible product would provide a discount for one 2CPU host within VMware Cloud on AWS. It's also possible to redeem Hybrid Purchasing Program and Subscription Purchasing Program credits against hosts in your SDDC.
Other costs for VMware also include data transfer and elastic IP addresses.
That now brings me to the end of this lecture and to the end of this course. You should now have a greater understanding of VMware Cloud on AWS, what it is, what it can do and how it interacts and connects with AWS and the benefits it can provide.
If you have any feedback on this course, positive or negative, please do leave a comment on the course landing page. We do look at the comments and your feedback is greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time and good luck with your continued learning of Cloud Computing. Thank you.
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.