Building a Hybrid Environment using VMware Cloud on AWS

I’m sure that by now you’ve at least heard of the VMware Cloud on AWS offering. If not, Ethan Banks and I recently had Matt Dreyer, Director of Product Management, VMware Cloud on AWS, on the Datanauts Podcast. During the recording we explore common use cases, including cloud migration, on-demand capacity, and disaster recovery. We examine how this service might impact your operations, tooling, and skillsets (hint: it’s exactly the same as VMware on premises, but if you want to dig into AWS Networking and other specialties you can).

While this is a sponsored show, meaning that VMware has supported the podcast in return for allowing us to craft a show agenda that we feel is interesting for the audience, I still had a blast recording with Matt and suggest giving it a listen. The audio journey starts with some simple level setting questions to help cement exactly what VMware Cloud on AWS is and does, and then moves swiftly into the concepts of designing, implementing, and running a hybrid environment.

After the show released, I saw a variety of responses on Twitter aimed at the show handle, @datanauts_show. One mention in particular stood out from Pete Lumbis.

Right on! Another mention from Anthony Miloslavsky was answered by Ethan as the thread developed.

Really, the overall market landscape is drastically changing as every single major player in the public cloud space is coming to the realization that pushing their cloudy services into the Enterprise is a necessary move to make. This is echoed in Chris Mellor’s Storage Christmas Cracker article, in addition to some predictions I made in various global outlets, such as this one in Italy and another here in Germany.

The three major cloud providers have picked their dance partners – Azure with Azure Stack, GCP with Nutanix, and AWS with VMware – to see who can deliver their portfolio of services to disrupt on-prem deployments across private data centres and clouds.

Who better to offer a cloud-like experience than those who have created exactly that in the first place?

Strategic Data Ownership

When VMware announced their offering with AWS a few years back there was a lot of mumbling about rolling out the red carpet to a competitor. The argument goes something like “if I make it easy to leave the data center and run in AWS, why do I need VMware anymore?” And, sure, at first blush this seems somewhat logical. Digging deeper, I think there’s a lot of strategic smarts involved with this offering.

After all, if people are leaving on-premises deployments for the public cloud … wouldn’t it make sense to be in the public cloud?

Rare footage of an architect creating a hybrid cloud.

The first thing to remember is that public cloud growth isn’t going to stall out any time soon and that the TAM (total addressable market) is ridiculously huge. Just read Why Adoption of Public Cloud Likely Won’t Exceed 17 Percent of total IT Demand by 2022 from Mark Thiele to get a sense of it all. Or, in a nutshell, “major cloud providers have roughly 13.65 million servers globally (GCP, AWS, Azure, Alibaba, Baidu, NTT, etc.)” while still putting out some extremely healthy YoY growth numbers.

On top of this, Jevons Paradox (hint: there’s no apostrophe) reinforces and clarifies several growth variables around this growth and predicts that we’re only going to get more and more hungry for on-demand, elastic resources in the future. It’s the same as when electric power was invented; we went from using a few megawatts to 1.21 gigawatts because the resource was made cheap and plentiful (until we run out of old dinosaur bone juice). Or, my favorite analogy – remember a decade ago when having a 3G data plan with a 1 GB cap on your cell phone was expensive? Now I get cranky when I’m not on LTE 4G bands with my unlimited data plan.

And finally, the pervasive adoption of Cloud-First initiatives across businesses of just about every size. It’s not possible to stall this or simply stick your head in the sand like an ostrich. It’s best to figure out a way to ride the wave, figure out how to empower your customers, and make the transition as easy and friction-less as possible. It’s worth noting that 3-5 years ago everyone was struggling with “Cloud-Only” nonsense, but now we seem to understand that cloud isn’t a panacea for every use case. This, more than anything, seemed to crystallize in the minds of many, and has facilitated a shift towards smarter architecture.

Cloudy Thoughts

For those reasons, VMware Cloud on AWS makes a lot of sense. Call it lift and shift. Call it move and improve. Call it migrate and innovate. But moving applications to public cloud providers such as AWS is something that people are currently focused on doing and, if anything, want to do more. On top of this, VMware provides the technology that stores customer data because it’s held on vSAN – the scale-out, shared nothing storage platform that underpins the VMware Cloud on AWS offering. And for many, “Data is the new oil.”

Thanks for reading. As a bonus, check out this sort of humorous Forbes article recently that gets super serious about data vs oil as a marketing term. :-)