VMware Cloud on AWS is Now Available

VMware and AWS announced the initial availability of VMware Cloud on AWS today
VMware Cloud on AWS is an on-demand service that enables customers to run applications across vSphere-based cloud environments with access to a broad range of AWS services. Powered by VMware Cloud Foundation™, this service integrates VMware’s flagship compute, storage and network virtualization products (VMware vSphere®, VMware vSAN and VMware NSX®) along with VMware vCenter® management, and is optimized to run on elastic, bare-metal AWS infrastructure. With this service, customers can manage their cloud-based resources with familiar VMware tools.

This service was born out of a strategic alliance that we announced in October 2016. Since then, the teams from both VMware and AWS have been hard at work in making this service a reality. The value proposition of this service has resonated with a broad range of customers and our partner ecosystem, leading to very active and successful early access and beta programs. Our product teams have worked with our early access customers and partners to validate and improve the service and the goal was to make them a key part of our service building process. Feedback has been positive – customers and partners realize the strategic value of this new service, and are already leveraging this in business and architectural level conversations within their companies. Early access users have supported our agile development and deployment practice, as well as the fast, closed loop feedback via the in-service chat experience. Users like the new, fast vSphere Client (HTML5 Client) for admin operations, simplified networking capabilities on the VMware Cloud on AWS Console, and the general ease of onboarding and creating VMs. They are also comfortable with VMware taking on host management (with AWS coordination behind the scenes), as well as software lifecycle management for vSphere, vSAN, and NSX. It is all about forging a close relationship with our customers to solve key business problems. We are delighted with the feedback from the early access program and are thankful to our customers and partners for all the valuable feedback in improving the service. My favorite quote from the program was: “This service is a game changer!”

On that note, I am excited to say that the many months of hard work is now bearing fruit. The service is initially available for purchase at the AWS US West (Oregon) region. With this release, we will deliver capabilities that enable customers to rapidly instantiate VMware SDDC clusters, elastically scale capacity up and down and run a wide variety of workloads in the AWS US West (Oregon) region. The release will deliver compelling use-cases, including Data Center Extension, Application Migration and new Application Development and Test.

Key highlights include:

  • Simple and consistent operations for rapid time to value – consistency across VMware on-premises and VMware Cloud on AWS through a common underlying platform and simplified operations. Capabilities include a single logical view with a new capability called Hybrid Linked Mode and use of familiar VMware technologies – vCenter Server, vSphere API, PowerCLI and modern-HTML 5 based Web Client.
  • Rapid instantiation of VMware SDDC clusters through a modern, web-based console and RESTful API on single-tenant, dedicated, high-performance AWS bare-metal infrastructure with support for 4 to 16 hosts, featuring next-generation storage optimized high I/O instances and low-latency Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) SSDs. Scale host capacity up or down in just a few minutes, and spin up an entire VMware SDDC in under a couple hours.
  • Optimized high-bandwidth, low latency access to AWS services and resources to enable an integrated approach to application modernization.
  • Consistent and integrated hybrid cloud management experience through support for industry-leading VMware Cloud Management Platform technologies – vRealize Automation, vRealize Operations, and vRealize Business for Cloud.
  • Support for broad ecosystem of third party tools. More than two dozen ISV partner solutions are supported on day one across business continuity and data protection, DevOps, cloud migration, networking and security. And, over 4,500 applications that work in vSphere work in VMware Cloud on AWS.
  • Enterprise-grade VMware capabilities delivered on AWS, including vSphere, vSAN, and NSX, integrated into an easy-to-use service, with optimized, direct access to AWS services.
  • Flexible consumption options including hourly On-Demand leveraging existing VMware purchasing vehicles that include SPP and HPP credits – more options are planned to follow the availability of the on-demand consumption model.
  • Delivered as a cloud service operated by VMware, including lifecycle management of the VMware SDDC software components, while customers retain control of managing and operating their applications.

How we got here
A project as large as VMware Cloud on AWS could only become a reality with the highest level of commitment and collaboration between the VMware and AWS teams. From regular executive interlocks at VMware and AWS HQs providing strategic guidance, down to the daily engineering meetings in the run-up to the Initial Availability, we were operating in lock step as one team.

VMware and Amazon started with a vision to bring vSphere-based environments to AWS public cloud infrastructure, but we wanted to do this in way that delivered greater combined value than could be realized through on-premises vSphere or AWS alone. Our goal was to create a “best of both worlds” solution that did not compromise in terms of raw performance, scale, management, and user experience.

First, we determined vSphere must run directly on bare metal. We would not accept any shortcuts or compromises to facilitate running on AWS – certainly we wouldn’t entertain running VMware’s flagship hypervisor nested inside another VM. However, bare metal alone was not enough – we wanted the vSphere hosts to be fully integrated into the AWS automation infrastructure so that we could build a service that could provision entire VMware SDDC environments rapidly and scale them up (and down) in minutes, all via an API.

Second, we wanted the vSphere hosts to be full participants in AWS’s rich networking environment. In practice, this meant developing the technology to allow the bare metal hosts running vSphere to participate in the AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) network. Again, with no compromises in performance and especially security.

Third, we wanted to put substance behind the claim of greater combined value. To that end, the teams decided that vSphere workloads should have seamless high bandwidth, low latency access to native AWS resources such as EC2 instances, S3 storage, Redshift clusters, and Aurora databases so that customers could build applications that span the VMware and AWS realms. This opens up a world of possibilities for applications to leverage the massive range of AWS services.

These three big ideas are at the heart of the technical implementation of VMware Cloud on AWS. We believe that together they amount to a game changer!

And, of course, this is just the beginning. VMware and AWS are planning enable support for new capabilities and use-cases, such as disaster recovery, geographic capacity expansion and data center consolidation, add service in additional regions the world, and increase integration. This will provide a compelling hybrid cloud platform that our customers can count on for their future. In addition, we hope to share more customer stories with you in future blog posts, and continue to engage with you.

Learn more about this service by visiting our website: cloud.vmware.com/vmc-aws