VMware Cloud on AWS partners have uncovered a long list of customer opportunities related to the hybrid cloud service.
When VMware and AWS launched the joint offering in 2017, the companies touted an opportunity for IT service providers to migrate customers' on-premises VMware-based workloads to the public cloud. The service, which runs VMware's software-defined data center stack on AWS cloud infrastructure, aims to combine AWS' scalability and flexibility with VMware tools and interfaces.
VMware Cloud on AWS partners say the technology has afforded them a range of opportunities, from multi-cloud to disaster recovery initiatives. Here's a look at how three partners, in particular, have used the service to support customer projects.
Rackspace supports remote desktop infrastructure during pandemic
Rackspace Technology, a multi-cloud services provider based in San Antonio, has partnered with VMware for more than 15 years. The company shares VMware's vision of a multi-cloud world where workloads run across a range of environments, including customer's data centers, hyperscale cloud platforms and Rackspace data centers, according to Adrianna Bustamante, senior director and strategic alliance executive for VMware and Dell at Rackspace Technology.
In addition to VMware, Rackspace has built a strong alliance with AWS, Bustamante said. "It was a natural fit as [VMware] started developing their VMware Cloud on AWS," she noted.
Rackspace has tapped VMware Cloud on AWS to drive customer projects such as widescale remote workforce migrations. When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in 2020, the company helped a U.K.-based public sector organization rapidly deliver remote desktop services to enable its employees to work from home, Bustamante said. The number of employees who required remote desktop access fluctuated from 200 to as high as 2,000. Rackspace provisioned the VMware Cloud on AWS software-defined data center stack, which gave the public sector firm the scalability it needed to manage remote workers.
Since 2019, Rackspace has also offered NetApp's Cloud Volume Service, a managed cloud storage product, with VMware Cloud on AWS as an option for customers with heavy storage workloads. "This enables customers to deploy additional data stores in [VMware Cloud] that scale independently from compute, which can be more cost-effective," Bustamante said.
Faction delivers DRaaS, simplifies data center migrations
Faction Inc., a Denver-based multi-cloud data services provider, has also grown its business around VMware Cloud on AWS.
John Drake, Faction's senior vice president of strategic alliances, said the company's target customers aim to use multi-cloud strategies to drive innovation, new business models and competitive advantages. "We help these organizations leverage the best-in-class services from the public cloud of choice by providing a single copy of data, accessible by all clouds simultaneously," Drake said. To do this, Faction uses its cloud-attached storage services, Cloud Control Volumes (CCVs), which connects to hyperscale cloud providers through Faction's Internetwork eXchange platform.
"VMware Cloud on AWS is a natural fit for our multi-cloud attached data services," Drake said. "The architecture underneath VMware Cloud on AWS is hyper-converged, meaning the storage and compute processing power and memory grow together in defined units."
While hyper-converged architecture works well in many situations, it can create scaling issues when customers require higher data storage capacity, he noted. In these cases, customers must purchase additional hyper-converged nodes, even though they only need more storage.
Faction can attach CCVs directly to VMware Cloud on AWS environments as native data stores. "This allows customers to grow their data without needing to grow the number of nodes in their environments, delivering large cost savings and driving down complexity," he said.
This design is especially important for disaster recovery, in which cost is always a key consideration, Drake added. Customers have used Faction's hybrid disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) offering to replicate on-premises virtual machines to VMware Cloud on AWS.
Faction has also deployed VMware Cloud on AWS for data center extension and migration projects.
CTS helps clients pursue hybrid architectures
When VMware Cloud on AWS launched, Toronto-based IT services provider Converge Technology Solutions (CTS) liked that VMware decided to embrace its partner ecosystem, rather than go directly to customers, according Greg Rhoades, CTS senior vice president of cloud strategy.
Many of CTS' customers have chosen VMware Cloud on AWS to support cloud migration initiatives, he said. These projects initially focused on creating disaster recovery, development and test environments for certain workloads. More recently, however, CTS has seen customers wanting "true hybrid architectures," in which a common set of services enable workloads to run between data centers and cloud, Rhoades said. CTS uses VMware Cloud on AWS to build these architectures.
Additionally, CTS has found VMware Cloud on AWS uses for data center migrations and virtual desktop infrastructure environments. The technology extends the VMware control plane into the public cloud, which makes workload migrations less disruptive, Rhoades said.
However, in complex IT environments, unexpected situations that require support from the vendor or service provider will always crop up.
"The good news is … there's a very good support model for [VMware Cloud] on AWS, especially when an MSP is engaged and the customer has a single point of contact," he said. When CTS escalates issues to VMware on a customer's behalf, VMware works with AWS to identify potential causes within the underlying infrastructure.
"It's a very clean support path," he said.