In part one of this three part series, I looked at the challenges associated with a multi-cloud strategy. Now it is time to look at how VMware is solving many of these challenges by bringing unprecedented choice to the multi-cloud world.
Bringing together the best of two worlds
Before 2017, there were, broadly speaking, two options available to achieve a hybrid cloud scenario. Organizations could build a VMware hybrid cloud by working with one of the 4,000+ VMware Cloud Partners across the globe to build a homogeneous solution. This solution offered multiple benefits. Everything from the consistent tooling and skills to security policy consistency and governance. The downside to this strategy was that you couldn’t take direct advantage of the massive amounts of innovation in the form of cloud services that were available on public clouds like AWS, Azure or Google Cloud.
Alternatively, you could architect a solution across an on-premises environment (likely built on VMware) and a hyper-scaler public cloud provider. In this scenario, you could get access to cloud provider innovation, but for the most part, your team was on the hook for building out any interconnectivity that was needed for applications to interact across a mixed platform environment.
This is because the core infrastructure between your on-premise environment and the public cloud were different. You couldn’t easily move a traditional application between environments due to dependencies between the application and the infrastructure it was deployed on. Still, even with these challenges, for many organizations, access to innovative cloud services and the benefits of accelerated time to market and the increased agility that flowed from this access, outweighed the operational challenges brought about by this type of mixed platform hybrid cloud solution.
Then in 2017, VMware blurred the lines between these two distinct options by giving customers the ability to take advantage of a solution that could deliver both models in a single architecture. VMware Cloud™ on AWS was the first joint VMware and Public Cloud provider partnership focused on delivering a homogeneous infrastructure that at the same time simplified access to public cloud cloud services.
With many VMware customers wanting to extend their IT base into one or more public clouds, the AWS partnership delivered a co-developed service that runs VMware Cloud Foundation (compute, storage, networking and management) natively on AWS bare metal infrastructure. This was the first in a new class class of hybrid cloud solutions. The solution was revolutionary in its architecture, simple delivery model, and close proximity to AWS native services.
Figure 1 Anatomy of VMware Cloud on AWS
So, what is VMware Cloud on AWS and why is it so important? Consider VMware Cloud on AWS as a VMware Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) deployed on AWS bare metal hardware “for rent.” More specifically, it is an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud that is owned and operated by VMware and built using the SDDC model. It brings together the best of both private and public cloud by enabling organizations to deploy workloads on AWS while being able to manage both clouds using the same operational processes they use in their own data centers.
To be clear, VMware Cloud on AWS is a cloud offering that is managed, operated and supported by VMware. The service provides dedicated SDDC instances that are hosted in AWS facilities with hardware that is owned and managed by Amazon. The service is dedicated, with hardware that is solely assigned to that customer SDDC. It delivers a private cloud operating experience with high speed low-latency access to AWS native services.
It is offered from the customer-owned AWS account, retaining the same billing model directly from AWS. In addition, the VMware service is built on top of AWS on-demand billing, and is therefore based on actual consumption. It allows VMware to offer flexible consumption models with elastic resources that can be scaled on demand. Finally, VMware Cloud on AWS can also be consumed and offered as a service through Managed Service Providers (MSP). The MSP model, under the VMware Partner Connect Program, allows partners to leverage various VMware Cloud Services to broaden their portfolio of offerings and provide value added features and functionality to customer-focused managed services.
Next came Azure VMware Solution
Azure VMware Solutions (AVS) represents the next installment of VMware’s any cloud expansion. Like VMware Cloud on AWS, AVS allows customers to run VMware workloads natively on the Azure platform. However, in this model, Microsoft owns the service and provides support for the management, networking and back-end infrastructure end-to-end. Microsoft, now a VMware Cloud Provider Partner, works closely with VMware engineering to build, maintain and support the platform.
With AVS, customers can deploy and manage VMWare workloads on a dedicated high performance and consistent platform running inside Azure. Organizations can provision, expand and reduce VMware infrastructure as business demands. This allows you to leverage Azure economies of scale without the complexity or cost of re-architecting the applications being migrated, while also maintaining your existing operating models, as illustrated in Figure 8.
Figure 2 Anatomy of Azure VMware Solution
Similar to the VMware Cloud on AWS scenario, with this solution customers can modernize applications at a comfortable pace while also expanding into native Azure services for the deployment of innovative application architectures, such as those illustrated in Figure 9. This model gives customers flexibility, choice and control over critical business applications and mitigates many of the risks associated with public cloud migration.
Other notable benefits of Azure VMware Solutions include:
- Runs in dedicated environment in Azure data centers across multiple regions (and growing)
- Engineered and delivered by Microsoft as a VMware Cloud Provider Partner
- Seamless Azure Experience through Azure portal; Programmable and integrated into Azure management
- Available from Microsoft as an individual service or with Azure Credits (same as any Azure native offering)
Customers get fast, simple deployment of software-defined infrastructure in the cloud with cost-effective, as-a-service cloud consumption:
- Low-latency, high bandwidth Azure public cloud services access
- Qualifies for 3 years of extended security updates and support of SQL and Windows Server 2008R2 after End of Support
Figure 3 Azure VMware Solution – Sample Zero Trust Security Reference Architecture
Whether you are decommissioning existing data centers or just need to expand and innovate into AVS, this service is clearly designed for organizations that have standardized IT infrastructure on VMware technology and are looking for the ability to expand and leverage the wide range of high-level services available in Microsoft Azure.
Then, just like buses, they all come along at the same time. In part three of this series I will look at Google Cloud VMware Engine, Oracle Cloud VMware Solution, Alibaba Cloud VMware Solution and the first hyper-scale cloud provider, IBM and IBM Cloud, in the broader context of cloud technology.
Interested in learning more about how VMware can help you architect a multi-cloud solution for your organization. Check out these two resources:
- Looking to better understand VMware’s unique approach to multi-cloud architecture? Get the definitive guide here.
- VMware Multi-Cloud Podcast: This Podcast series on SoundCloud interviews VMware technical leaders and explores how VMware Cloud offerings can help you architect a multi-cloud environment that accelerates application modernization across a multi-cloud landscape.
- VMware Cloud on AWS Reference Architectures: This collection of reference architectures details how to deploy various application and hardware stacks in a hybrid cloud model that includes VMware and AWS technologies.