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Amazon RDS on VMware extends cloud database on site

The latest expansion of the VMware-AWS partnership, centered on RDS, suggests a growing interest from the public cloud giant to extend its reach into enterprise data centers.

LAS VEGAS -- VMware and AWS have deepened their partnership around hybrid cloud, with an offering that gives VMware customers access to Amazon Relational Database Service within their own data centers.

The move comes amid a flurry of updates to VMware Cloud on AWS here at VMworld 2018 this week designed to simplify hybrid cloud operations and management for IT teams. It also marks another step by AWS to turn more of its attention to the enterprise data center.

With Amazon Relational Database Service on VMware, users can deploy and scale RDS in their own data centers' vSphere-based environments. As it is in the AWS public cloud, RDS on VMware is delivered as a service to automate and reduce tedious database management tasks, such as provisioning, patching and backups. In addition, customers can use the service for database disaster recovery and to burst RDS read replicas using the AWS cloud.

The service, currently in preview, will effectively make on-premises vSphere another AWS region in which customers can deploy RDS. In addition to the ability to run RDS on premises, users can also choose to migrate the service to VMware Cloud on AWS for hybrid deployments.

"If you eventually want to move [the relational database] to AWS, you'll be able to do so rather easily," said Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services.

AWS takes a hybrid slant

Amazon RDS on VMware represents a pivot in the overall VMware-AWS partnership. Much of the focus for that partnership, so far, has been to facilitate the migration of legacy VMware workloads to the AWS public cloud. The RDS offering, however, is essentially the opposite approach -- an extension of AWS' native capabilities into on-premises VMware environments.

What's more, while VMware handles customer support for VMware Cloud on AWS and AWS provides the underlying infrastructure, the RDS offering reverses those roles. AWS will manage support, and the service will run on VMware infrastructure, said Pat Gelsinger, VMware's CEO.

"This is really a bilateral relationship," he said.

Amazon RDS on VMware suggests both vendors see value in making their relationship a two-way street, said Carl Brooks, analyst at 451 Research, in an email.

AWS realizes it is cutting off its nose to not serve VMware users, and VMware realizes it has absolutely no business gatekeeping customers away from products they want to use if there's little to no technical barrier.
Carl Brooksanalyst, 451 Research

"AWS realizes it is cutting off its nose to not serve VMware users, and VMware realizes it has absolutely no business gatekeeping customers away from products they want to use if there's little to no technical barrier," he said.

AWS has increasingly acknowledged enterprises' desire to use a mix of public and private environments, a somewhat surprising admission for a vendor that has advocated a public cloud future.

"Many companies now are operating in hybrid mode, and will be for a while now," Jassy said.

Most enterprises still spend more on premises or in private hosted environments, and the RDS offering gives the biggest public cloud provider a way to tap into that market, said Stephen Elliot, an analyst at IDC.

"This is an on-ramp for AWS to get closer to these private cloud investments," Elliot said. "And it's a great story for VMware from a hybrid perspective."

Amazon RDS on VMware will support Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Oracle and MariaDB databases. The two vendors said the service will be available in "the coming months."

More AWS offerings will become available on premises as part of the partnership, but VMware declined to provide details about which ones or when.

"Generally, you will see this kind of trend continue," said Ivan Oprencak, director of product marketing for VMware Cloud on AWS.

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