Migrate and Modernize with VMware Cloud on AWS Part 2 – What’s new digest

This blog has been last updated on May 28th, 2020.

The latest updates to VMware Cloud on AWS make it easier than ever for enterprises to migrate and modernize workloads. Read on to learn about infrastructure as code automation, Kubernetes on VMware Cloud on AWS, AWS service integrations and more. 

 

VMware Cloud on AWS provides a platform for running customers’ enterprise workloads of today and tomorrow. With VMware Cloud on AWS, customers can start their modernization journey with minimal disruption to their business. They can rapidly migrate their applications to the cloud in an AWS Region of their choice without downtime and without the need to refactor the applications. In fact, customers like IHS Markit migrated 1000 workloads to VMware Cloud on AWS in just 6 weeks – read about their story here. Once in the cloud, they can start automating the underlying infrastructure operations with DevOps tooling, transforming these applications by leveraging modern technologies such as Kubernetes and enriching them with native AWS cloud services. In a single infrastructure platform, customers can run composite applications that are a combination of virtual machines and containers, with access to native AWS services.

In our Nov Migrate and Modernize What’s New Blog Post, we spoke about the expansion to the AWS Europe (Stockholm) Region, bringing the availability of this service to 17 global AWS Regions, including a special controlled instance running in AWS GovCloud (US). We also spoke about stretched clusters cost optimizations and a number of other capabilities.

Let us now look at what’s new this time around:

Infrastructure as code automation:

If you remember, VMware vRealize Automation can already deliver infrastructure as code automation for VMware Cloud on AWS. Blueprints created in vRealize Automation are written declaratively in YAML. Blueprints describe a desired end-state of virtual machines, networking, load balancers and other infrastructure components that are satisfied by the various Cloud Accounts and Integrations. With GitLab and GitHub integration the YAML blueprints can be subject to source control management, with versioning synchronized between blueprints and the source control system.

We now have a new Terraform provider for VMware Cloud on AWS. This enables users (cloud admins and DevOps engineers) to declaratively define and provision their VMware Cloud on AWS environments and simplify the management of their hybrid infrastructure through automation using Terraform. This provider can be used with the existing Terraform providers for vSphere and NSX to manage end-to-end hybrid infrastructure from SDDC networking to VM lifecycle. As part of this release, with the Terraform provider for VMware Cloud on AWS, users can automate the following operations:

  • Provision, update and delete a VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC
  • Add or delete hosts to an SDDC

For more details, please read this blog post here. I would also highly recommend reading the VMware Cloud on AWS Resource Digest about Automation

Kubernetes on VMware Cloud on AWS:

VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus support for VMware Cloud on AWS enables customers to deploy their SDDC in the cloud, with the required components needed to architect and scale Kubernetes to fit their needs. Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus is an enterprise-ready Kubernetes distribution that packages open source technologies and automation tooling to help get you up and running quickly with a scalable, multi-cluster Kubernetes environment. Customers deploying Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus on VMware Cloud on AWS can benefit from 24×7 break-fix support for Kubernetes and key open source ecosystem technologies, along with proactive architectural guidance from VMware’s Customer Reliability Engineering team.  Additionally, customers that intend to transform the way they build applications can engage VMware Pivotal Labs to drive agile development methods into their organization and shorten the path to production.  This establishes a reliable foundation for cloud native application management and application modernization.

Key benefits:

  • Speed: On-demand provisioning and upgrading of Kubernetes clusters via simple CLI, eliminating complex deployment and management processes
  • Portability: Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus embraces Kubernetes as the modern application platform that allows a customer’s applications to be portable across any type of infrastructure, including multiple VMware Cloud on AWS deployments.
  • Scalability: As a singular application begins to scale or the amount of applications increase within Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus, more worker nodes can be added when needed. When deployed on VMware Cloud on AWS, customers can take advantage of elastic infrastructure to quickly create and scale Kubernetes clusters.
  • Consistency and reliability: VMware Cloud on AWS provides a platform that is consistent with any vSphere-based cloud environment, enabling easy migration of existing applications without disruption. It also provides a pre-packaged SDDC environment that delivers the necessary compute, network, and storage infrastructure for Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus, allowing customers to transform targeted applications of their choice.
  • Automation: VMware automates and manages the underlying infrastructure lifecycle, allowing customers to focus on their applications.

For more details, please read this blog post here or read the KB article.

Enrichment with AWS services:

Extend the value of enterprise applications running in VMware Cloud on AWS by providing enterprises with a simple and consistent way for their applications to access over 165 native AWS services. By seamlessly integrating with these innovative native AWS services, customers can incrementally add new features to their applications and enhance the end user experience. VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC is running directly on AWS elastic bare metal infrastructure, which provides high bandwidth, low latency access to a broad range of AWS services, including storage, database and analytics, serverless, compute, networking, security, IoT, machine learning and more. Learn more by taking a look at specific reference architectures on the VMware website or by visiting the resources section on the AWS website.

 

We are also continuously working to improve the VMware Cloud on AWS service experience for our customers. Let us take a look at some of the latest updates here:

Improved scale, availability and ease of operations:

  • Large SDDC support: Users can deploy large-sized SDDC with an upgraded NSX edge and vCenter via API. This helps address scale and edge saturation for larger customer deployments.
  • Stretched Clusters for VMware Cloud on AWS in Sao Paulo: We had a slew of announcements related to Stretched Clusters last year at VMworld. We are now excited to announce that Stretched Clusters are now available for deployment in VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs in AWS South America (Sao Paulo) Region. Read more here.
  • Notification gateway: This capability serves as the central integration point for all customer-facing notifications from VMware Cloud on AWS for ease of operations. The notification gateway is designed to keep customers up to date on the Day 2 operational events and service updates, including maintenance notifications, Elastic DRS Add Host events, subscription expiration reminders, and VMware Site Recovery notifications. Here is the list of notifications that are currently available to customers. These notifications are being sent to all organization owners and members who have access to the VMware Cloud on AWS service. The notification channels that are available include email, VMware Cloud on AWS console UI, vCenter UI and Activity Log UI. In addition, log events from the activity log UI can be seen in VMware vRealize Log Insight Cloud. New capabilities will include:
    • Webhook API – Enables customers to subscribe to events and have the events pushed to any 3rd party destination, such as Slack, PagerDuty, ServiceNow, etc.
  • With VMware Horizon 7 fully supported on VMware Cloud on AWS, customers can leverage a feature-rich hybrid cloud platform for migrating, extending and protecting their virtual desktops and applications. Built for enterprise-grade workloads, Horizon 7 simplifies management, enabling customers to drastically reduce the number of images under management with real-time, one-to-many application provisioning and zero downtime updates. In addition, if customers run into compatibility issues, operating systems can easily be rolled back and applications sandboxed, minimizing disruption to the business. This is a customer managed solution.
    • Elastic DRS Rapid Scale Out and Horizon 7 instant clones: With Elastic DRS Rapid Scale Out policy setting, users can add hosts in parallel and scale their clusters more quickly. This is very useful for VDI workloads – enabling users to automatically scale up Horizon 7 virtual desktops on VMware Cloud on AWS for business continuity utilizing Horizon 7 instant clones and this specific Elastic DRS policy. Please refer to the release notes for more details
  • Seamless disk resizing: Increased operational simplicity by allowing users to resize virtual machine disks through vCenter UI as part of VMware Site Recovery operations. Users can increase the size of virtual disks of virtual machines that are configured for replication, without interrupting ongoing replication. The virtual disk on the target site is automatically resized. For more information about the feature, see Increasing the Size of Replicated Virtual Disks. 
  • 2-host cluster capability now in preview: The new 2-host cluster capability for VMware Cloud on AWS is now released in Preview with the Amazon EC2 i3.metal instance type.  With the ability to spin up a 2-host cluster, customers can get started with persistent VMware Cloud on AWS environments at up to 33% lower cost of entry than a full production 3-host offering. Note that in Preview, the 2-host cluster capability does not come with a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Please read this blog post for more details.
  • Automatic adjustment of vSAN policy for improved data availability:  VMware Cloud on AWS will automatically set the default storage policy for customers’ Virtual Machines when they deploy their cluster. This way, the service will enable customer workloads to stay within SLA requirements and make it simple for customers to manage their storage while ensuring the right level of availability. As a cluster is scaled-out or scaled-in, the service will automatically adjust the VMs’ default policy based on the new host-count and the SLA requirements. Customers will have the option to override the automatically applied policy with a policy setting of their choice for each VM.
    • The datastore default policy for standard deployments will be set to FTT= 1 Mirroring (RAID 1) for clusters with 3-5 hosts in a cluster and FTT = 2 Erasure Coding (RAID 6) for clusters with 6 or more hosts. For Stretched clusters, the default policy will be Dual Site mirroring with FTT = 1 RAID

That brings us to the end of the updates this time around. Stay tuned for more.

Availability

To view the latest status of features for VMware Cloud on AWS, visit: https://cloud.vmware.com/vmc-aws/roadmap. Refer to the release notes VMware Cloud on AWS release notes for updates.

The following capabilities are available: New Terraform provider for VMware Cloud on AWS; VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus support for VMware Cloud on AWS; AWS service integrations; Large SDDC support; Stretched Clusters in AWS South America (Sao Paulo) Region; Elastic DRS Rapid Scale Out policy. Seamless disk resizing with vSphere Replication for VMware Site Recovery; Automatic adjustment of vSAN policy for improved data availability.

The following capabilities are in Preview**: Notification gateway-Webhook API. 2-host cluster capability with VMware Cloud on AWS running on Amazon EC2 i3.metal instance type.

Note: There is no commitment or obligation that items in ‘Preview’ status will become ‘Available’ And features in Preview may not be available to all applicable customers or in all AWS Regions. The information in this blog post is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into any contract.

 

Resources

For other information related to VMware Cloud on AWS, here are some more learning resources for you:

 

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About the Authors

Sai Gopalan

Product Line Marketing Manager at VMware

Sai Gopalan is a Product Line Marketing Manager in the Cloud Platform Product Marketing team, focused on VMware Cloud on AWS. Sai is an enthusiastic marketer who has driven several product launches at VMware, working through the facets of technology product marketing - messaging, positioning, pricing, sales enablement, go-to-market strategy and execution. Most recently, he led the partnership and release launches of VMware Cloud on AWS. He completed his MBA from University of Michigan in 2013 with High Distinction and prior to that spent 6 years in consulting with McKinsey and Accenture in Singapore. He also holds a degree in Computer Engineering from NTU, Singapore

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