VMware-AWS partnership builds on cloud, database integration

The VMware-AWS integration continues to grow with Amazon RDS on VMware. Meanwhile, better coverage, prices and management tools make VMware Cloud on AWS even more attractive.

Early results from the VMware-AWS partnership are promising as the two organizations build on successes with cloud...

and database services.

VMware has cut the price of VMware Cloud on AWS -- the partnership's leading product -- and improved integration between the two vendors' product suites, which has made it easier for existing customers to test out the platform.

VMware and AWS announced their partnership in October 2016 amid a great deal of fanfare. The results of the VMware-AWS partnership filled a major void for VMware customers.

"One of the biggest challenges that companies with legacy systems face when moving to cloud is a feeling of being disconnected," said Deepak Mohan, research director of public cloud infrastructure as a service at IDC.

Organizations have invested a great deal of time, money and expertise into building skill sets that maintain on-premises systems. They don't want to be forced to dump their tools, business processes and employee expertise when they move to the cloud. Instead, they might prefer to gradually migrate from where they are now to where they need to go.

The VMware-AWS partnership has consequently focused on building continuity between VMware's on-premises management systems and AWS's public cloud services. For instance, VMware's vMotion technology provides organizations with the ability to migrate running workloads from one physical host to another without downtime. That service now supports long-distance and cross migrations. As a result, organizations can dynamically move workloads from their on-premises data centers to VMware Cloud on AWS.

The VMware-AWS partnership extended VMware management functions to more areas. In August 2018, VMware debuted a version of NSX that works with AWS Direct Connect, a dedicated connection from a customer's data center to an AWS data center. NSX security policies now extend to AWS workloads, and admins can apply and enforce one set of policies on premises or in the public cloud.

Initially, VMware Cloud on AWS was available only in select areas, but the service has since reached Asia.

VMware-AWS partnership finds accessible price points

Initially, VMware priced the services high, which deterred many organizations from closely evaluating VMware Cloud on AWS. In the summer of 2018, VMware lowered the minimum number of necessary hosts and relaxed requirements for organizations that wanted to run test cases.

"The pricing changes have made the AWS solution much more attractive to potential customers," said Marco Alcala, CEO at Alcala Consulting, a VMware partner.

The price reductions make it easier for organizations to start slowly with the service. Disaster recovery is a particular use case organizations are exploring, according to Alcala.

A major surprise from the AWS-VMware partnership is the mutual support of Amazon's relational database service (RDS).

"AWS has been making a big push to become a key player in the database space," Mohan said.

Though VMware and AWS have made a lot of progress, gaps still exist in the two vendors' product lines.

AWS wants to take market share from Microsoft, which has long been a VMware adversary. The two worked to build a version of RDS that runs on VMware and, as a result, the VMware-AWS partnership has enabled admins to use RDS in on-premises infrastructures.

This agreement could be a springboard for further collaboration between the two vendors on other AWS software products. AWS has a number of other programming and development tools, such as its Elastic Beanstalk orchestration tool and its suite of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.

Though VMware and AWS have made a lot of progress, gaps still exist in the two vendors' product lines.

"Serverless computing is one area where the two may want to extend their agreement," Mohan said.

The AWS-VMware partnership shook up the IT industry. Since the initial announcement, the two vendors have moved in a positive direction and are making the service attractive to a growing number of businesses.

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