VMware on AWS comes to Australia

VMware has made its cloud based Software Defined Data Centre available on the AWS Sydney region, a year almost to the day since its launch in the US and almost two years after VMware and AWS announced plans to jointly develop the service.

VMware describes it as “a native, fully-managed offering that runs the VMware SDDC stack directly on bare-metal AWS infrastructure that maintains the elasticity and security customers have come to expect.” It comprises: vCenter, VMware’s VM management utility; vSphere, its virtualisation platform; vSAN, which pools together direct-attached storage devices across a VMware vSphere cluster; and NSX, the network virtualisation product.

The Sydney region is the first in Asia Pacific to get the service, which is presently available from AWS’s US east and west coast regions, London and Frankfurt. Availability in Tokyo is also planned.

Announcing the Sydney launch at a press briefing in Sydney, ahead of its launch today at VMworld in Las Vegas, Alister Dias, VP and MD, VMware ANZ, said VMware in the AWS Sydney region would also be available in New Zealand, and completed global coverage. He said the service would be sold, operated and supported by VMware.

“The customer will engage directly with VMware for the service level agreements, the commercials and also for support,” Dias said. “Behind the scenes we have a close working relationship and tight integration with AWS from an engineering perspective.”

For partners, he said there were two models: “There is one where they can sell the service to customers, supported by VMware, and we have a managed services program that allows them to wholesale the program as part of their offerings.”

Dias said the service had been available to all existing customers for the past few weeks and had been activated across all three availability zones in the AWS Sydney region.

First customer and partners

At the briefing VMware presented early customer ME Bank and two partners offering the service: New Zealand cloud services provider Revera and global managed cloud provider Rackspace.

Sunny Avdihodzic, general manager strategy and architecture at ME Bank, said most of the bank’s workloads were virtualised on-premises and VMware on AWS “presented a great opportunity to explore how we can provide additional scalability and flexibility to move faster.”

Keith Archibald, head of innovation for Revera, said VMware on AWS created an opportunity to help Revera’s customers develop the next generation of applications and interactions with their customers.

“The next evolution is at the application layer and what they can do with the data. It is not at the infrastructure layer, and this is a great way of moving that infrastructure much more quickly so they can focus on building new applications, and on the data layer.”

Darryn McCoskery, general manager Australia and New Zealand for Rackspace, said customers were faced with aging infrastructure and wanted more flexibility and agility to build modern applications and interact with their business.

“This is about helping our customers go on that journey,” he said. “They are looking to us for expertise and help to understand the impact on their business as they adopt VMware on AWS.”

AWS migration seen as ‘risky and expensive’

He added: “We have done a lot of migrations to AWS and customers have seen that as risky and expensive.”

He said Rackspace was yet to announce its VMware on AWS offering, but would be making some announcements at VMworld. “Things like how do you extend your security policies from your on premises workloads to a third party cloud and the implications for users.

He said the provision of a seamless migration of a VMware workload from premises to cloud was only part of the story.

“There are a lot of stakeholders who want to have a say. They don’t want someone to take their application and move it to a third party data centre without them understanding the implication for the business.

“Business owners have a lot more say in what goes where and when. The number of people who need to agree on a migration has increased.”

High demand anticipated

AWS managing director for ANZ, Paul Migliorini, said AWS anticipated significant demand for the service. “Customers are seeking to innovate faster, to leverage the power of their data more effectively and a big part of that is seeking to remove the friction associated with legacy platforms like data centres and legacy hardware,” he said.

“Increasingly they want to move large amounts of their workloads to the public cloud but in a way that is safe and that minimises disruption and leverage the skills they have already invested in.”

New features added

Mark Lohmeyer, senior vice-president and general manager of VMware’s cloud platform business unit, unveiled details of new features added to VMware on AWS, also announced at VMworld.

- A new high-capacity storage option supported by AWS Elastic Block Store.

- A 50 per cent lower entry-level price and new minimum configuration.

- VMware NSX Hybrid Connect (previously known as VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension). VMware says this enables customers to live migrate thousands of VMs with zero downtime, and to schedule exactly when to cutover to the new cloud environment.

- The ability to optimise enterprise application licensing costs with custom CPU core counts and VM affinities.

- AWS Direct Connect support.

- Support for micro-segmentation with NSX.

- Elastic DRS that enables automated scaling up or scaling down of hosts and rebalancing of clusters, based on the needs of the applications and the policies the customer defines.

VMware on AWS has previously been offered only with a minimum of four hosts. Customers can now start with only three hosts and this configuration will be available at half the price of the four host cluster until 2 November 2018, Lohmeyer said.

For Oracle and Microsoft applications, customers are now able to specify exactly the number of CPUs they need to run them.

Lohmeyer said the availability of Amazon EBS volumes created a cost-efficient option for customers looking to scale the storage capacity for workloads that require high storage to compute ratio. Available storage options range from 15 to 35TB per host in 5TB increments.

He said microsegmentation under NSX was “a very powerful feature of NSX that many of our customers rely on in their on-premises environment”.

“It provides granular control over east-west application traffic,” Lohmeyer said. “Policies are enforced dynamically and follow workloads wherever they are moved within the SDDC. It enables compliance with security policies and prevents threats from spreading across the network.”


Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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