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What's new with VMware Cloud on AWS

Updates to VMware Cloud on AWS include improvements to the migration workflow and enhancements to HCX, as well as support for Project Pacific and VMware Cloud Marketplace.

This week, at VMworld 2019, new updates to VMware Cloud on AWS including migration and scale enhancements, as well as improved management and ecosystem access, were announced. It will also support and be compatible with Tanzu and Project Pacific.

In one session, VMware Director of Product Management Matt Dreyer and Group Manager of Product Marketing Sai Gopalan instructed attendees on how best to implement VMware Cloud on AWS in the data center and what this cloud service has to offer, including new features.

VMware partnered with AWS in 2016 to create the hybrid cloud service that runs VMware's software-defined data center (SDDC) stack on the AWS public cloud. This enables IT administrators to combine a variety of VMware tools with AWS' cloud service. It can extend the capabilities of a data center while maintaining private clouds and on-premises infrastructure, and many organizations use it for data center extension, disaster recovery, cloud migration and next-generation applications.

A VMware Cloud on AWS overview

Modern applications require flexibility, which a hybrid cloud system can help enable. VMware Cloud on AWS gives its customers consistency and easy workload portability, with vSphere on both sides of the cloud and native AWS services.

The cloud service is available in 16 global regions, including six in North America, four in Europe and five in Asia-Pacific. It supports two different bare-metal instance types: I3, for general-purpose clusters, and R5, for storage-bound clusters.

An organization can create two separate SDDCs, which VMware Cloud on AWS can launch in roughly 90 minutes to two hours. Each SDDC can hold up to 20 vSphere clusters, and each cluster contains anywhere from three to 16 hosts.

"I think VMware Cloud on AWS is going to be a major player. I mean, when you can stand up a complete data center within a couple hours, it's a no-brainer," said Kelly Ryan, a principal architect at World Wide Technology based out of Maryland Heights, Mo.

Administrators can log into VMware Cloud on AWS via a web interface and see the SDDCs they have deployed, with information on those SDDCs' locations. They can deploy new SDDCs via a Create SDDC wizard with four sections -- region, shape, host size and name.

"After a deployment is finished, you have a ready and running environment. Everything is already installed," Dreyer said.

Admins can then shrink or grow their environments based on workload needs, and they can optimize for either performance or cost. They can manage and modify networking configurations, add-ons and maintenance scheduling from a single pane of glass.

What's new

Updates to the cloud platform enhance migration, scale and manageability. Customers most look forward to increased resiliency.

"[VMware Cloud on AWS is] going to get an enterprise to the cloud, on-prem, back and forth. The flexibility and dexterity of a company with a HCX or VMC on AWS is perfect," Ryan said.

VMware has enhanced the migration workflow experience for data center migration. It has also enhanced HCX, including region-to-region and inter-cloud migrations, and introduced an elastic vSAN feature that enables admins to scale Elastic Block Store capacity up and down post-deployment, rather than deploying an entire additional host for more storage.

In terms of management and ecosystem access changes, VMware has improved support for VMware Cloud Marketplace, which enables discovery and deployment of validated third-party products. It has added further Log Intelligence capabilities as well as network insight support for scaling and managing network policies, path tracing and security planning. VMware Cloud on AWS also now supports vRealize Operations for workload balancing across clusters, configuring compliance and billing analysis.

The cloud and VMware's mission

As VMware pivots towards the hybrid cloud market, VMware Cloud on AWS has become important to the vendor's mission.

"A lot of customers, ... they're going to have these hybrid environments. They're going to have some on-premises, [and] they're going to have some VMware stack running in these clouds," said Jason Needham, former chief marketing officer of CloudCoreo (acquired by VMware) and current head of product cross-cloud services for VMware.

VMware Cloud on AWS seeks to cater to the growing number of customers with hybrid cloud environments. The vendor hopes this service will guide more businesses towards the hybrid cloud.

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