What’s New With VMware Cloud on AWS – New Instance Type and More Capabilities for Automation and Ease of Operations

A new bare-metal instance type for VMware Cloud on AWS clusters is designed to optimize data-intensive workloads requiring high random I/O access. Lower cost of entry with smaller configurations. And many more new capabilities!

 

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 live and without the need to refactor the applications. Read about how customers are leveraging VMware Cloud on AWS in this blog post. Once in the cloud, they can start automating the underlying infrastructure operations with DevOps tooling, transforming these applications by leveraging modern frameworks 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 Migrate and Modernize Part 2 What’s New Digest, we spoke about the infrastructure as code automation, Kubernetes and a number of other capabilities. In addition, we also looked at the availability of VMware Cloud Director that offers multi-tenancy for VMware Cloud on AWS.

And now we are excited to announce some new exciting capabilities of VMware Cloud on AWS that will help customers with storage bound workloads and provides them low cost starter option. Hear about technical details of these key announcements from @kitcolbert– VP and Chief Technology Officer, Cloud Platform BU, VMware

Read below for a closer look at what’s new.

New bare-metal instance type with Amazon EC2 i3en.metal for VMware Cloud on AWS

We are excited to announce a new bare-metal instance type for VMware Cloud on AWS clusters – the i3en.metal instance. VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC clusters based on i3en.metal instance type are optimized for data-intensive workloads requiring high random I/O access such as relational databases and workloads that require end to end security.

Based on 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processor each host offers:

  • More compute: 48 physical CPU cores with hyperthreading enabled by default (96 logical cores) compared to 36 physical CPU cores with the i3.metal instance
  • More RAM: 768 GiB RAM. This is 1.5X the RAM of an i3.metal instance.
  • More raw storage capacity: ~45 TiB of raw NVMe SSD This is >4X of raw storage capacity of i3.metal instance. Note that in the initial release of this instance type, VMware vSAN checksum is enabled by default. vSAN compression and deduplication are not enabled. Usable storage capacity will vary based on workload characteristics and requirements.
  • More secure instance type: With data-in-flight encryption at the NIC-level enabled by default for east-west traffic within the VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC boundary.
  • All data at rest is encrypted with VMware vSAN similar to VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC clusters running on the i3.metal instance type.
  • Network interface throughput of up to 25 Gbps at the initial release similar to VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC clusters running on i3.metal instances.
  • Availability will vary based on regions and customers are advised to contact their VMware or Amazon sales team.

For a deeper look at the i3en.metal instance type for VMware Cloud on AWS, please read this blog post.

 

2-host production cluster

Currently, customers can spin up a production cluster with 3 hosts or more. With the ability to create production cluster with just 2 hosts, customers can deploy production environments with 2 hosts in a cluster. This will be available for Amazon EC2 i3.metal hosts only. This should lower the cost of getting started with a minimum production cluster based on the i3.metal instance type by ~33% and further broadens the access of the service to small and mid-sized enterprises.

For more details, please read this blog

 

One-click activation of VMware vRealize Automation Cloud for VMware Cloud on AWS

VMware vRealize Automation Cloud provides self-service IaaS consumption with governance for VMware Cloud on AWS. With vRealize Automation Cloud, customers can reduce the complexity of their IT environment, streamline IT processes and deliver a DevOps-ready automation platform. It enables automated workload provisioning by setting up a self-service infrastructure for developers and managing it with governance policies for better insight and control. It also delivers Infrastructure as Code-based automation for provisioning and management of SDDCs on VMware Cloud on AWS. Blueprints created in vRealize Automation Cloud are written declaratively in YAML. Customers can automate SDDCs, virtual machines, networking, and other infrastructure components through blueprints, serverless functions (ABX) and other integrations. With GitLab and GitHub integration, blueprints and other automation scripts can be versioned and stored in a source code repository. Let’s look at what’s new:

 

vRealize Automation Cloud add-on tile on VMware Cloud on AWS console: This console integration streamlines vRealize Automation Cloud on-boarding for VMware Cloud on AWS customers by:

  1. Activating a 45-day Trial of vRealize Automation Cloud
  2. Setting up and configuring vRealize Automation Cloud with VMware Cloud on AWS
  3. Enabling connection of VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs to vRealize Automation Cloud

 

For more information, please read this blog post.

Improvements in scale, resiliency, and ease of operations

SDDC Groups (Preview): SDDC Groups will provide customers with the ability to logically organize a set of SDDCs to simplify management at scale, as customers deploy tens or hundreds of SDDCs within VMware Cloud on AWS. With an SDDC group, customers will be able to manage multiple SDDCs as a single logical entity. SDDC Groups will enable connectivity by leveraging VMware Transit Connect.

VMware Transit Connect (Preview):  VMware Transit Connect will provide a VMware-managed, easy-to-use, scalable and performant Layer 3 connectivity solution between VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs that are designated within an SDDC group leveraging AWS Transit Gateway. It will enable connectivity between an SDDC group and multiple Amazon native Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs). In addition, this solution will also enable connectivity between an SDDC group and multiple on-premises environments via an AWS Direct Connect Gateway. Key highlights include:

  • VMware-managed: Eliminate hassles of self-deploying and managing complex configurations to establish a connectivity fabric across VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs, AWS VPCs and on-premises environments.
  • Operationally simple with automated provisioning and controls: Easily enable connectivity across environments directly from the VMware Cloud on AWS console leveraging SDDC groups. Further, adding a network to an SDDC group automatically set ups all the necessary routing policy configuration to enable desired connectivity, transparent to the user.
  • Scalable design: The connectivity model automatically linearly scales up/down easily as new VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs, native VPCs, and data centers are added or removed from the group, providing users with flexibility.
  • High-bandwidth, low latency and resilient connectivity solution: The solution is based on the highly available AWS service – AWS Transit Gateway.

 

VMware Cloud on AWS introduces support for AWS Partition Placement Groups:

This is an instance placement strategy that helps reduce the likelihood of co-related host failures due to hardware failures. Partition Placement groups increase availability of applications by placing hosts in different logical partitions that do not share the same underlying hardware. Partition placement groups follow a “best effort” algorithm to automatically deploy hosts across as many different partitions as there are available within an AZ. Each partition within a placement group has its own set of racks, and each rack has its own network and power source. No two partitions within a placement group share the same racks, which allows for isolating host failures within an SDDC cluster. VMware Cloud on AWS automatically enables Partition Placement groups for new SDDC, cluster and host provisioning operations. This is enabled for i3.metal and i3en.metal instance types in AWS Regions where these instance types are available for VMware Cloud on AWS.

VMware Site Recovery enhancements:

  • Non-disruptive DR testing with VMware Site Recovery: Customers can create isolated DR test networks at the source site and extend them to the recovery site. VMware now supports alternative ways of routing traffic between these isolated networks in VMware Cloud on AWS, including the ability to create Layer 2 connectivity between the on-premises environment and the VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC. Layer 2 extended networks can be setup at the source site by either using VMware HCX Network Extension or NSX Standalone Edge as the L2 VPN Client. This enables customers to use the same subnet across the source and the target sites, without the overhead of having to re-IP their workloads during testing. They can also utilize their on-premises router to route traffic between them or create separate networks within VMware Cloud on AWS and use a router VM to connect them. For more information, please read this blog post.
  • Multiple points in time recovery: With this capability, customers will be able to configure the retention of replicas from multiple points in time. After a recovery, vSphere Replication will present the retained instances as ordinary virtual machine snapshots. Each replica is a Point in Time (PIT). Customers will be able to recover virtual machines at different points in time (PIT), such as the last known consistent state. In addition, they will also be able to configure the number of retained instances on the Recovery Settings page of the replication configuration wizard and view the details about the currently retained instances in the replication details panel for a specific replication.

 

New capabilities from VMware operations products to further enhance support for VMware Cloud on AWS:

  • VMware vRealize Log Insight Cloud delivers centralized log management, deep operational visibility, and intelligent analytics across your VMware SDDC software stack running in VMware Cloud on AWS. With accelerated IT troubleshooting and better security across your private cloud and VMware Cloud on AWS infrastructure, every VMware Cloud on AWS purchase includes specific vRealize Log Insight Cloud features focused on audit and diagnostic capabilities with ability to upgrade to the full product for intuitive, actionable dashboards, sophisticated analytics and broad third-party extensibility. The following new capabilities for vRealize Log Insight Cloud for VMware Cloud on AWS include:
  • More insight:
    • New log types with Cloud Services Portal audit logs (Included in VMware Cloud on AWS free version – 1 GB/day log limit)
    • Tanzu Kubernetes Grid Plus (TKG+) log support on vRealize Log Insight Cloud: Forward both system and application logs from your TKG+ cluster running on VMware Cloud on AWS or any Kubernetes deployment that has an outbound connectivity to vRealize Log Insight Cloud

That brings us to the end of the updates this time around. Stay tuned for more. Bookmark this link to hear from VMware and AWS executives on key announcements.

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: i3en.metal instance type for VMware Cloud on AWS (regional availability will vary, please contact your VMware on AWS sales representative for more details), VMware Site Recovery: Non-disruptive DR testing with VMware Site Recovery, VMware Site Recovery: Multiple points in time recovery, vRealize Log Insight Cloud enhancements mentioned above; Support for partition placement groups; 2-host cluster on i3.metal; vRealize Automation Cloud add-on tile integration with VMware Cloud on AWS console

The following capabilities are in Preview: SDDC Groups, VMware Transit Connect. Note that 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:

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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