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As VMware and its virtualization technologies intersect with cloud computing, IT pros and virtualization admins have plenty of integration choices to consider. While VMware Cloud on AWS looks particularly promising, VMware admins will need to evaluate their options to find the right mix among VMware and public cloud providers and the levels of integration they provide.
Explore available VMware, public cloud integrations
Microsoft is working hard to offer a seamless Azure platform that can connect an in-house cluster to the public Azure cloud. Azure Stack, due in 2018, will enable a single control point and full transportability across the cloud boundary, which will set a high bar for competitors.
Google has taken a different approach. Capitalizing on the fact that many enterprises are committed to an OpenStack approach on an internal cloud, Google has partnered with Red Hat, OpenStack's lead vendor. This will play to Google's strength as the performance and cost leader in the public cloud space because the OpenStack and Google combination will be both agile and replete with features.
Not to be outdone, VMware and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have combined forces so VMware can extend vSphere cluster control into the AWS cloud. VMware Cloud on AWS will enable a VMware/public cloud integration by enabling VMware control environments to interact with AWS public cloud resources in order to extend the scale and reach of the virtual cluster on demand.
Evaluate the offerings
Azure leads in terms of uniformity of operation, though it's still a work in progress. Improvements in aspects like storage performance and instance creation latency will be telling.
Google has a fresh architecture in its own cloud, and OpenStack is a powerful and still evolving offering. Without the baggage that Azure carries as part of a three-decade-old Microsoft code evolution, one might expect greater innovation in the Google and OpenStack integration, as creativity is a hallmark of both Red Hat and Google.
This leaves VMware with the challenge to overcome its design legacy to position itself better against the competition. VMware's issues range from handling instance management and public clouds through the delivery of a first-class container platform to demonstrating scalability, flexibility and feature rollout on the public cloud scale.
VMware follows through with enrichment
VMware, for its part, seems committed to the enrichment process for VMware public cloud integrations. The company promised new services every quarter and appears to be on track. The initial core VMware Cloud on AWS includes vSphere, NSX for network virtualization and vSAN for storage virtualization.
VMware Site Recovery is a recent addition. This service replicates one VMware cloud environment to another AWS zone for disaster recovery protection both for on-premises VMware clusters and any VMware Cloud segments in AWS.
Another new feature, VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension, enables apps to be migrated to the cloud while keeping the same networks and routing policies in place. This will extend to VMotion for live migration of VMs in the near future, using AWS Direct Connect private links for performance. Wavefront, one of VMware's 2017 acquisitions, will also complement this by offering the ability to monitor the overall VM structure to tune performance.
Apps in VMs can also access AWS service APIs, which enables the use of AWS Lambda, Elastic Load Balancing and Amazon's spectrum of data analytics services. Elastic Compute Cloud and Simple Storage Service are accessible, as is Elastic File System, with multizone options for disaster resilience.
The VMware Cloud on AWS story is promising. VMware is ready to access the public cloud market alongside AWS' customer base and leading stack of services, while AWS, which swore against hybrid clouds for years, is getting a seat at the table that's backed by a popular data center service. All in all, this VMware/public cloud integration represents a great coup for both companies, a new significant competitor in the marketplace and a viable option for VMware administrators.