VMware Cloud on AWS: A Promising Step Towards Hybrid Cloud

Jeff Byrne, Senior Analyst & Consultant


Based on recent Taneja Group research, there appears to be a wide gap in users’ perceptions of private versus public clouds. Most companies are either running or planning to run a private cloud on-premises, to provide users with greater self-service access to business-critical workloads. Organizations often see the private cloud as a next step in their datacenter evolution, as they transition to more of an IT-as-a-Service model.

Firms are also increasingly using the public cloud, though generally for less critical workloads and use cases, such as development, testing or data analytics. In fact, our survey indicated that nearly 40% of companies are not willing—at least not yet—to entrust their critical apps to the public cloud, due to IT concerns about the ability to reliably meet SLAs and maintain control.

And then there’s hybrid clouds, which very few companies are currently running. A majority of the organizations we speak with would eventually like to adopt hybrid cloud, and transparently move workloads between on-premises and one or more public clouds. But most believe that a hybrid cloud is not in their near-term future.

So it is against this backdrop that we found the newly announced strategic alliance between Amazon Web Services and VMware to be so encouraging. The two companies are building a capability to enable customers to run a fully functional VMware Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) as a cloud service on AWS. The VMware Cloud will run on native ESX on next-generation, bare metal AWS infrastructure. VMware customers will be able to run their vSphere-based enterprise workloads in the AWS public cloud, alongside their other AWS workloads, without re-architecting apps or re-building operational procedures—and most importantly—without sacrificing reliability, availability, or performance. Since this is an infrastructure-as-a-service offering, VMware will operate and manage the in-cloud deployment, utilizing vCenter tools.

When this service debuts in mid-2017, customers will be able to choose one of three types of deployments: standalone, hybrid cloud, or cloud-to-cloud. With the latter two flavors, IT ops teams will be able to manage their VMware Cloud on AWS from a single console. Those customers running NSX can take advantage of consistent network and security services between their on-premises and cloud deployments. And to complete the vision, vMotion will enable mobility of workloads between VMware environments running on-premises and in AWS.

When it becomes a reality, VMware Cloud on AWS will enable customers—including architects, ops teams and administrators alike—to consume AWS infrastructure using existing VMware-oriented skill sets and tools. As Frank Denneman states in a VMware blog post (here), there will be no need for re-platforming, VM conversion, repackaging or testing as customers migrate workloads back and forth. And there is also a vision to allow workloads to extend capabilities by taking advantage of the rich portfolio of AWS features and services.  

We see this future offering as a solid step towards enabling hybrid clouds, without the large investment of time, effort and money that is currently required. We are looking forward to seeing the fruits of this technology partnership. 

Published by Jeff Byrne

Jeff brings to Taneja Group more than 25 years of marketing and operational experience at a variety of infrastructure software, systems and semiconductor companies. He focuses on all flavors of cloud and virtualization technologies, and also covers the intersection of these technologies with various types of storage. Jeff develops and leads primary research initiatives to help vendors better understand market trends and customer requirements, and in response, to adapt their products, solutions and messaging to more effectively address IT buyers’ needs. Jeff advises clients on issues ranging from product and competitive positioning to messaging and go-to-market programs, and helps companies to work through challenging product and technology transitions. Prior to joining Taneja Group, Jeff spent five years as Vice President of Marketing and later Vice President of Corporate Strategy at VMware, a leading provider of virtualization, cloud and mobility solutions acquired by EMC in 2004. Earlier in his career, Jeff held senior management positions at DG Systems, Dataquest, MIPS, and HP. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Math and Computational Sciences from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard.

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