Overview - AWS Prescriptive Guidance


VMware provides infrastructure management and virtualization tools, and traditionally targets data centers. VMware Cloud on AWS provides organizations with advanced VMware capabilities that are integrated with AWS services and a single point of contact for service support and integration.

VMware Cloud on AWS gives you access to VMware Infrastructure, which delivers infrastructure virtualization tools, and VMware Cloud Foundation, which provides compute, storage, networking, security, and cloud management features for running enterprise workloads in a hybrid cloud environment.

VMware Cloud on AWS includes three VMware infrastructure components: vSphere, NSX, and vSAN. vSphere provides compute virtualization, NSX provides network virtualization, and vSAN provides storage virtualization. In addition, VMware vCenter Server enables you to manage your vSphere infrastructure, including authentication and authorization, from a central location. With VMware Cloud on AWS, you can run your VMware-based workloads on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) M7i (Intel Xeon Sapphire Rapids), i4i (Intel Xeon Ice Lake), and i3en (Intel Xeon Cascade Lake) instances in an isolated, single-tenant virtual private cloud (VPC).

The Amazon EC2 m7i.metal-24xl instance is powered by custom 4th generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors (Sapphire Rapids) with an all-core turbo frequency of up to 3.8 GHz. These processors feature Intel Accelerator Engines that are designed to accelerate performance across the fastest-growing workloads. This host type can be used only in a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) that provides external storage.

Amazon EC2 I4i is a general-purpose host type that provides higher levels of compute, memory, and storage than I3 and is better suited to enterprise applications on a larger scale. VMware Cloud on AWS is available in most AWS Regions; see the VMware documentation for a complete list.

The main use cases for VMware on AWS are:

  • Data center extension – The scalability and global presence of the AWS Cloud enables you to rapidly, seamlessly, and cost-effectively meet your data center capacity and regional footprint expansion needs.

  • AWS integrated applications – Using AWS services help you modernize your applications or implement a strategy to design hybrid applications.

  • Disaster recovery programs – You can simplify, accelerate, and modernize your disaster recovery solutions by enhancing your existing VMware-based disaster recovery approach with AWS Cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) capabilities.

  • Cloud migration opportunities – By sharing the common VMware Cloud Foundation-based cloud infrastructure across on-premises data centers and the AWS Cloud, you can simplify and accelerate the migration of mission-critical production workloads to the AWS Cloud at scale without having to convert or re-architect workloads.

Migration challenges

The major challenges of the VMware to VMware Cloud on AWS migration process include the following:

  • Workload assessment – Your organization should be prepared to manage the extra work required for migration assessment, and your network systems should be capable of handling the increased workload.

  • Skills – We recommend that you hire professionals with the right skills and experience to plan and carry out the migration. These individuals are responsible for:

    • Creating a plan to ensure that your workload can be managed efficiently in the long term.

    • Creating a timeline for the migration.

    • Estimating the costs of the migration and potential savings in the long run.

  • Network design and security protocols – Your organization must understand and evaluate network design requirements for VMware Cloud on AWS and security factors to ensure data privacy and confidentiality. We recommend that you follow your internal security protocols and train the employees who will be involved in the migration project.

Migration considerations

  • A critical part of the migration work is planning the capacity to run your workloads on AWS. Your organization should be prepared to understand compliance requirements and the capacity that your workloads would need in the future, and carry out planning and cost budgeting.

  • You should also evaluate the exit strategy from your existing data centers. Some applications might be faster and easier to migrate, depending on their size and complexity, whereas others might take longer. You can use automation to simplify and speed up your migrations.

  • Acquiring the right licenses is critical. Moving to AWS involves changes to your host servers, which might necessitate licensing changes.

  • We recommend that you plan a situational assessment, analyze probable costs, be aware of potential security problems, and collect information on your organization’s resource requirements.

  • The migration is carried out in three different stages: plan, build, and migrate. Each stage has its own set of challenges and considerations, as discussed in the migration guide on the VMware website.

Targeted business outcomes

A successful migration to VMware Cloud on AWS helps you achieve the following objectives:

  • Simplified operations – Your organization can simplify its hybrid IT operations by using the same VMware Cloud Foundation technologies, including vSphere, vSAN, NSX, and vCenter Server, in its on-premises data center environments and in the AWS Cloud. You can keep the same VMware provisioning, storage, and lifecycle policies that you use now. This means that you can easily move applications between your on-premises environment and AWS without having to purchase new hardware, rewrite applications, or change your operations.

  • Improved availability – VMware Cloud on AWS helps accelerate the migration of VMware vSphere workloads to the AWS Cloud. Amazon EC2 i3en.metal instances for VMware Cloud on AWS deliver high networking throughput and lower latency so you can migrate data centers to the cloud for rapid data center evacuation, disaster recovery, and application modernization. This enables you to take advantage of the scalability, availability, security, and global reach of the AWS Cloud.

  • Application modernization – You can use AWS services to enrich your architecture for VMware Cloud on AWS workloads. For example, you can connect your VMware application to Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) or Amazon EMR managed databases.

  • Cost reductions – VMware Cloud on AWS enables organizations to optimize the cost of operating a consistent and transparent hybrid IT environment. There is no custom hardware to deploy in your on-premises environment and no need to modify applications to migrate to the hybrid cloud model. You can use policy and management tools from VMware on premises and VMware Cloud on AWS for a unified experience and consistent performance. This ability to leverage your existing investments help save you money.

  • Agile scaling capabilities – VMware Cloud on AWS is designed to scale without the limitations of on-premises environments. Your organization can take advantage of the massive scalability and global presence of the AWS Cloud to rapidly, seamlessly, and cost-effectively meet their capacity and regional footprint expansion needs.

  • Private cloud – VMware Cloud on AWS provides a unified cloud infrastructure for both the private and the public cloud by integrating compute, storage, network virtualization, and lifecycle automation. As a completely unified software stack, it provides organizations with the fastest path to the private cloud and consistent infrastructure across VMware-based public clouds.

  • Easy adoption – If you're new to the cloud and have experience with VMware, you can easily apply your on-premises skills to VMware Cloud on AWS. The traditional vCenter management interface looks and works the same in the cloud and on premises. Your existing VMware administrators can apply their existing skills to AWS. This results in reduced staffing and personnel costs, because it eliminates the need to hire new employees or retrain engineers and administrators. Your organization can ramp up and use VMware Cloud on AWS much faster compared with a brand-new platform.

  • Access to expertise from Partners – You can benefit from the expertise of the global community of AWS Partners who can help you solve migration challenges and innovate in the cloud. For more information, see the AWS Partner Network.

  • Portfolio of cloud services – You can use VMware’s cloud services or take advantage of a broad set of AWS services to modernize your applications with increased flexibility, visibility, and cost optimization across your cloud environment.

  • Transition to a variable costs model – VMware Cloud on AWS helps you move from a fixed costs model to a variable costs model, and frees you from long and expensive data center contracts and disaster recovery locations. You can use savings in hardware, maintenance, and upgrades to invest in other projects that benefit your organization.