Graphical representation of female employee working on cloud

Bridging the gap: Starting into AWS with VMware

Shaping digitalization – but how do VMware workloads easily move to the cloud?

October 18 2023Marek Varchola

Groundhog Day: On-Premises IT

Long release cycles and maintenance windows for on-premises applications are still typical in many companies. Yet the outstanding importance of digitalization has long been recognized, and the will to modernize is strong. But where to start to migrate VMware legacy workloads to the public cloud as smoothly and future-proof as possible and with minimal risk?

The burden of legacy workloads

Large on-premises applications are still a commonplace in many companies. Legacy systems and applications still account for about two-thirds of the time and money spent in enterprise IT. 

They support the business reliably, but business departments suffer from technical limitations: Capacity bottlenecks limit the user experience, and it takes time to implement new requirements. 

What is needed, however, is the ability to innovate and be more responsive to market demands – as central building blocks of success in a digital world. That’s why many companies are looking for an entry point to exit: away from established IT architectures and landscapes to the cloud.

How can the switchover be made easily without business processes suffering?

Future-proof with existing resources

Server virtualization has been established in data centers for what feels like eons – with VMware as the undisputed market leader. But through its current initiatives, VMware is also becoming a steppingstone on the path to the cloud, for example to AWS.

With VMware Cloud on AWS, the two partners offer a platform that paves the way for VMware applications to move into the cloud. In the process, VMware technology that is familiar and proven in the on-premises environment can continue to be used – with the established tools. IT staff simply take their skills with them to the cloud.

Bright and cloudy. Relocate to the AWS Cloud

One of the most common approaches to move existing workloads to the cloud as a first step is Lift & Shift. With VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware and AWS have evolved this approach into a “seventh R” (see info box below): When you “relocate”, the virtualization stack (in this case, VMware) simply accompanies the workload to the cloud. 

vSphere-based workloads are then run on infrastructure resources in AWS data centers. The big advantage is the short path to modern AWS services in the same data center. Thus, a simple re-platforming can be done in a second step or a combination with additional services from the AWS ecosystem, for example with S3 Object Storage or an RDS database service.

VMware Cloud on AWS uses VMware’s HCX tool for the migration. It also allows mass migrations. Alternatively, vMotion can be used with vSphere Replication. The resources are managed – like internal servers – via the existing tools vCenter and vRealize.

How flexible should it be?

graphic of VMware cloud director service

VMware Cloud on AWS is available in two variants. The basic Foundation version addresses customers with the need for a complete SDDC (Software Defined Data Center). This approach is suitable when extensive resources are to be relocated. For example, when a complete data center (DC) is dissolved – or an additional data center is needed (temporarily) at short notice.

However, many users do not want to go “all in” right away and dissolve a complete data center. They want to start with individual workloads and gain experience with cloud operation. 

Using VMware in pure IaaS mode

VMC Flex is ideal for these scenarios. T-Systems operates its own SDDC for this purpose. With the help of the Cloud Director Service (CDS), T-Systems turns this SDDC into its own “VMware Public Cloud”. On the multi-tenant platform, users can also use individual VMware VMs (from a vCPU with 512 MB RAM) – in a pure IaaS mode. 

The self-service offering is available via an Internet portal with plug-in functionality. All functions are provided via a REST API. 

VMC Flex unlocks common cloud flexibility in a pure pay-as-you-go model where customers are billed per hour per used resources only. More than 20 flavors are available up to high-performance VMs with 36 vCPUs and 480 GB RAM. They have full scalability of the entire stack.

Simple entry to AWS

VMware Cloud on AWS offers an easy and low-risk entry into AWS, opening a variety of perspectives for enterprises. The internal IT team can manage resources using established VMware tools – just as if they were in their own data center. With VMC Flex, temporary use of VMware as true IaaS from the cloud is now also possible.

About the author
Marek Varchola

Marek Varchola

Service Chain Operation Manager for VMC on AWS

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