In the final installment of this three-part series, I will address the newest additions to VMware’s hybrid cloud capabilities. I will also close by discussing some of the major considerations that you should take in account when deciding whether it makes sense to adopt a hybrid cloud approach that includes running VMware technologies on one or more hyper-scaler clouds.
No discussion about hyperscale clouds could be complete without highlighting the father of the hyperscale cloud model – IBM. IBM and VMware have a long-standing relationship to accelerate hybrid cloud innovation and adoption across global enterprises. IBM makes it easy for enterprises of all sizes to securely move VMware workloads to the cloud and leverage open technologies to modernize business operations.
Figure 1 Anatomy of IBM Cloud
The IBM public cloud helps customers across a wide range of vertical industries meet security, resiliency, performance and global deployment requirements. IBM Cloud clients gain access to a range of enterprise-grade IaaS and PaaS services that allow developers to leverage innovative cloud service capabilities from IBM.
Google Cloud VMware Engine
Officially made generally available on June 30th, 2020, Google Cloud VMware Engine (GCVE) delivers a fully integrated, native VMware experience on Google Cloud. GCVE provides high levels of performance and reliability to support production enterprise workloads from within Google Cloud data centers.
Just as we have seen with the previously discussed hybrid cloud solutions, with this service you can migrate or extend your on-premises workloads to Google Cloud in minutes, connecting to a dedicated VMware environment directly through the Google Cloud Console.
Figure 2 Anatomy of Google Cloud VMware Engine
For customers who are strategically aligned with Google Cloud Platform, the GCVE provides everything you need to run your VMware environment natively in Google Cloud. The solution delivers a fully managed VMware Cloud platform that includes VMware vSphere®, VMware vCenter®, VMware vSAN™, VMware NSX®, and VMware HCX. These technologies are deployed as a dedicated environment on Google Cloud Platform infrastructure. With this service you can extend or migrate workloads without change to Google Cloud in minutes using HCX.
Google Cloud VMware Engine is a Google first-party solution, fully owned, operated and supported by Google Cloud. At the time of writing, Google Cloud VMware Engine is available in US-East and US-West regions with plans to add eight more regions by the end of 2020.
GCVE offers 99.99% availability to customers and has pricing options that allow on-demand consumption as well as 1- or 3-year commitments.
All billing is addressed through the same Google Cloud used for native services. As with all of the hybrid cloud solutions discussed in this series, the aim of GCVE is to allow customers to focus on applications and their underlaying workloads, while Google Cloud SRE teams manage other service aspects, such as lifecycle of VMware SDDC technologies.
Oracle Cloud VMware Solution
Next up is Oracle, which brought Oracle Cloud VMware Solution (OCVS) to market. The solution enables customers to run VMware Cloud Foundation on Oracle’s Generation 2 cloud infrastructure while retaining full VMware administrative access and compatibility with VMware vCenter. The key differentiator for OCVS is the fact that the customer has full control to build and manage their cloud VMware environment as if it ran in their own data center.
Again, the migration of VMware workloads without re-architecture or modification of tools and processes is key to the value of this service. However, Oracle is the only VMware hyper-scale cloud offering that allows customers to migrate existing vSphere environments to the cloud while retaining total control over lifecycle management, such as updates, patches, and validation of integrated third-party tools, for all VMware components.
Figure 3 Anatomy of Oracle Cloud VMware Solution
The capabilities offered by OCVS allows joint VMware and Oracle customers to easily integrate with Oracle’s cloud native services, including Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Exadata, VMs, or other bare metal compute instances, all of which run in close proximity in the same cloud data centers, on the same virtual cloud networks, accessible through the same OCI user interface and APIs.
Public cloud IaaS verses VMware on public clouds
Comparing native public cloud services with a VMware software-defined data center running within that same public cloud is not easy and is a bit like comparing apples with oranges or beer and wine. Quite simply, a lot of it comes down to what your priorities are and what your end goals need to be from a business perspective. While it might be possible to do both a commercial and technical comparison between workloads running on AWS EC2 or Azure VM with those running on VMware, that data alone is unlikely to be the major influencer of decisions around your multi-cloud strategy.
So, what it comes down to is business tactical and strategic priorities. For instance, if flexibility, choice and control are key requirements when it comes to workload placement, then VMware, as we have shown throughout this series, offers a compelling set of options.
Another key concern for many companies moving to the cloud is vendor lock-in (Figure 4). Organizations can be weary of a scenario where it is easy to move into a cloud infrastructure but difficult to leave without incurring large costs, risk and complexity. This is due to the proprietary nature of public cloud technologies. This is another reason why a common VMware SDDC across all the major cloud providers is appealing to many customers.
Figure 4 Understanding public cloud lock-in
Now let’s turn to the question of cloud economics. Cloud Native IaaS will typically benefit from the cloud economic model, where you pay per second for VM capacity. Under the VMware model you pay per host, which, despite the move from Capex to Opex, is the same economic model as on-premises.
Similar to on-premises environments, consolidation ratio is a key driver of cost. The cost of a Cloud Native IaaS workload is consistent. It doesn’t change based on how many workloads you deploy. However, in the VMware model, as the host cost is fixed, the cost per workload decreases the more workloads you are able to consolidate onto a single host (Figure 5).
Figure 5 IaaS cloud cost model comparison (illustration purposes only)
Other factors, such as automation, can also impact the cost of cloud operations. In some cases, Cloud Native IaaS can provide richer automation across the entire public cloud ecosystem (on a single cloud) whereas a VMware solution might require additional cloud management or automation tooling to create this more deeply integrated capability.
Another consideration might be ISV integrated tools. For instance, Microsoft has an Azure Backup solution that integrates directly with Azure Native IaaS, therefore, it is likely that a separate solution for VMware in Azure would be required. However, you could also turn this on its head and consume the same backup solution in AVS as you deploy on-premises, simplifying the overall data protection capabilities across all cloud environments.
In this series, I have looked at VMware’s unique approach to delivering a multi-cloud architecture with a focus on the ‘One Platform, Any Cloud’ approach taken by VMware. There are, as we have seen, many considerations around the consumption of these platforms and why you would elect to deploy one option over another.
Extending or migrating an on-premises infrastructure to the public cloud using a non-VMware approach can be time consuming, costly and fraught with complex cloud migration, implementation processes and challenges. In this scenario, customers must contend with differences in skill sets and tools required to manage these environments, typically leading to cloud silos.
In addition, separate access, security and networking policies, leading to inconsistencies in control, can make it extremely difficult to deliver on enterprise level SLAs that promise consistent availability and performance across on-premises and public cloud applications.
In contrast, migrating from VMware on-premises to VMware in the cloud lets you seamlessly move workloads without the cost or complexity of refactoring applications. This approach allows you to manage workloads consistently across all environments.
VMware is committed to creating a public cloud experience that is simply about consumption and aims to make cloud complexity invisible to the customer, allowing organizations more time to focus on transforming their business. Leveraging VMware across cloud environments can reduce your operational burden by moving to an on-demand, self-service model while maintaining continuity with your existing tools, processes and skill sets. At the same time, you can still take advantage of native cloud services to supercharge your application portfolio, integrating emerging technologies such as AI, ML or IOT into existing or new applications.
These VMware on public cloud solutions make Hybrid Application Design a reality. Hybrid Application Design describes an application topology which spans both a VMware Cloud platform and native public services, with a unique solution that delivers a two-way high-bandwidth low-latency interconnect with native services for hybrid application architectures. This allows customers to gain the benefits of native cloud services by incorporating them into application designs – in other words, binding VMware IaaS with public cloud services on a per workload or application basis.
As we have looked at these different hybrid cloud solutions, hopefully you have seen that there is a lot of similarity across them all. At the same time, each solution has key differentiating factors. For instance, VMware Cloud on AWS is the only solution designed, operated and sold by VMware. You may also have noticed that Microsoft with Azure VMware Solution has some key licensing advantages not available to any other public cloud vendor, and Oracle’s offer differentiates by providing full customer management capabilities.
But the most important thing to keep in mind is this: They all deliver the flexibility, simplicity and control that many enterprise customers want to take with them to the public cloud.
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.