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April 16, 2021

Data Centre Extensibility

Seamless Data Centre Extension of VMware to Private Hosted Clouds and AWS

 Many terms are used in the technology spheres and leading a team of technology and operational specialists where there is often a debate on the terms used in the industry. The technology “lingo” at times means different things to different organisations and people. (Sunny Desai | Executive Service & Solutions)

To position Data Centre Extensibility for this blog it should be viewed in our business definition. Yes, there is technology enabling Data Centre Extensibility but the extensibility should be seen in terms of enabling the extensibility of compliance, governance, security, tooling, skills and processes in a manner that meets the demands of an organisation in the hybrid world supporting cloud economics.

Cloud economics is a requirement of many organisations is now part of our eco system. There are many reasons why this model is attractive to organisations such as capital preservation, flexibility, mobility and many more. Where in the past the message was that cloud is going to be the answer for all your requirements has now transformed into cloud is an integral part of your digital eco system.

Based on research done by analyst firms such as Gartner, Forester & IDC as well as data collected from some of VMware’s key customers, we have seen that there is a why – why do customers want to adopt cloud and what – what are the intended benefits one would like once in cloud. Let’s start with WHY

  1. Footprint expansion: Regional laws mandate a company trying to grow globally, to meet local laws and regulations, must have the organizations data reside within the borders of their country. This requirement is ubiquitous. Timelines and demands by the organization decision makers and passed down to the technology departments are rigorous and the perception is typically that Cloud would provide the flexibility to meet these demands.
  2. Policy directive from senior management: Cloud mandate from senior executives forces the IT leadership to use cloud opportunistically and Data Center extensions provide the features and functions to allow for a more cost effective, predictable and manageable.
  3. Agility & accelerated innovation: Software truly is making inroads in each industry and it will not be long before we realize the strategic importance of IT to business of all shapes and sizes. This is forcing IT teams to move away from managing infrastructure to be a broker of services – be swift and do more with less. Technology departments are being expected to move up the value chain from a provider of infrastructure and services to being integral to the value an organization delivers.
  4. Application modernization: Companies want to modernize applications to provide improved end user experience and bring innovation faster to the market. Worldwide traditional companies are being challenged by new startups leveraging the digital and application innovations.

Now the what – what are the intended and assumed benefits of cloud:

  1. Increased flexibility and agility: Cloud is fast, it reduces the time to operationalize from months to minutes. Once in cloud provisioning a new VM is equivalent to a mouse click
  2. Cost optimization: More and more LOB leaders want to spend less upfront – essentially move away from Capex to an Opex model
  3. On demand capacity access: we have witnessed a discrepancy between the planned and the real need. On demand capacity mitigates that challenge by moving away from planning for the future to requesting in present.
  4. Digital transformation: Businesses are digitizing at a faster pace today than ever. A Digitization Challenge observed there is a difference between perception and the reality. If an organization wanted to harness the power of cloud and adopt hybrid cloud path, there are several challenges:
  5. Interoperability: Infrastructure differences between on-prem and public cloud force customers to re-architect / refactor existing applications while moving to cloud. Leading to additional cost. The migration is fraught with some obvious challenges and unforeseen challenges.
  6. Incompatible and diverse tools & skillsets: IT teams need additional tools, software and enablement to manage and operate the various forms of Cloud along with diverse and specialist skillsets. This often leads to application sprawl and makes the IT ops teams life complex when trying to operationalize the hybrid environment
  7. Operational challenges: Due to differences in operational models and inability to leverage established on-premises governance, security and operational policies, customers need to validate that applications meet their business requirements such as compliance and governance in a new cloud technology  environment
  8. Lack of support for bi-directional application mobility when in cloud negates the benefits of hybridity.

Due to all these challenges, cloud migration process increases the risks & complexity of a transition along with adding costs and forces organization to look for outside help. According to some recent analyst studies, here are important and enlightening stats to review

1. 7.4 years to refactor and migrate 100 applications to the cloud – Hybrid Cloud Trends Survey, The Enterprise Strategy Group, March 2019 (N=309)

2. 90% reported skills shortages in cloud-related disciplines- 451 Research, (Nov 2018) 2019 Trends in Cloud Transformation (N=547)

Do our solutions have an answer to the challenges and the answer is yes we do, in brief what we have is VMware Cloud on our private hosted cloud VMware on EOH with our dedicated VMware verified cloud infrastructure or in the case of  VMware on AWS combines VMware compute, networking, and storage running on top of dedicated, bare-metal hosts from AWS.  vSphere for compute, vSAN for storage, and NSX for networking are running on high-performance, IO-optimized AWS designed hardware.  As the vSphere hypervisor is running on bare metal, organisations can be guaranteed the high level of performance and resilience they are accustomed to having utilizing on-premises solutions.  vCenter provides a familiar management interface for the environment so that the VMware admins do not have reskill on technology and toolsets.  The service is jointly engineered with AWS, however, VMware/EOH is the operator.  This means that VMware/EOH delivers the initial environment and provides periodic updates and fixes, remediates any hypervisor, server, or network failures, and VMware for VMware on AWS provides 24x7x365 phone and live, on-line support.  The service was designed from the ground up to be cloud-first.  This means that customers get the same capabilities they expect out of native, mega-cloud environments including auto-scaling with Elastic DRS, self-provisioning via a portal, APIs for full automation, developer center, the on-demand capacity to provision servers in minutes, on-line credit card purchasing options, and flexible consumption option to purchase the service by the hour or for longer-term commitments.

Customers are not required to have any infrastructure and services from VMware on-premises unless a requirement to meet organization compliance and governance.  Organisations could simply sign up with a credit card to get going.  However, if they have VMware technologies on-premises, they can utilize this to maximize the value and delivery of the offering. vCenter has a new capability called Hybrid Linked Mode that enables to connect vCenter managing VMware Cloud on EOH VMware verified cloud or AWS environment with all other vCenters running on-premises into a single pane of glass management console.  VMware HCX is offered at no additional cost to VMware Cloud on AWS customers. VMware HCX is a cloud-to-cloud interconnect that enables large-scale, live, and bi-directional migration of applications.  vSphere, vSAN, and NSX are combined in the VMware Cloud on AWS service, however, they are not required on-premises.  If customers, want to take advantage of the unified vCenter management the only requirement is vSphere 6.0 and higher.  If customers have additional VMware vSAN and/or NSX on-premises the more seamlessly the transition to a hybrid cloud model can be achieved. The vSphere software used in VMware Cloud on AWS is identical to the vSphere software customers use on-premises and therefore the 3rd party solutions that have been qualified over the years to run on vSphere will run in VMware Cloud on AWS.  This includes other VMware products like the vRealize Suite, and other 3rd party solutions such as firewalls, IPS, data protection, or developer tools.

When it comes to the public cloud side of this service there is several capabilities that VMware and AWS jointly developed.  First, the service is available in most AWS regions around the globe.  As of early 2020, that is 17 of 22 AWS regions including one GovCloud region.  VMware and AWS created special connectivity between the VMware SDDC and the AWS VPC environment.  Elastic Network Interface provides direct, secure connectivity between the environments.  Applications running in VMware Cloud on AWS can access AWS services with the same low latency and high throughput as if they were running in AWS EC2.  Traffic sent over this private connection is free of egress charges in either direction.

What this looks like technically

We don’t believe one size fits all and our approach is to work with our clients and help them on this journey to Hybrid/Multi-Cloud world. Our capabilities span across many disciplines including app modernization and consulting services.

For more information please contact:

Sunny Desai – sunny@aptronics.co.za

Richard Blewitt – richard.blewitt@aptronics.co.za

Mark Wayne – MarkW@aptronics.co.za

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