VMWare Cloud on AWS: What It Means for CIOs, IT Infrastructure and the Future of the Cloud

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The rollout of VMWare Cloud on AWS gives customers the ability to create a true hybrid cloud environment.

But what are the actual benefits and challenges it presents to organizations and CIOs? And what does it mean for the future of cloud technology?

At VMWorld 2017, VMware and Amazon announced the availability of VMware Cloud on AWS—a new joint offering that allows customers to run any application across VMWare vSphere-based private, public, and hybrid cloud environments with native access to AWS services. Capgemini is one of four companies selected by VMware and AWS to support the offering for customers worldwide.

In an already crowded cloud marketplace, VMware Cloud on AWS gives IT organizations yet another option. But it also introduces new questions into the decision-making process for organizations eager to reduce costs and improve performance and embrace the cloud shift.

Why is VMware Cloud on AWS significant?

In the past, decision-making boiled down to a binary choice between private and public clouds. On a practical level, hybrid cloud meant committing to a selection of hosting some applications on private clouds and others in public clouds.  The management of the two types of workloads is still often handled by two different teams with different skillsets.

VMware Cloud on AWS offers IT organizations a true hybrid cloud opportunity where they can have both public and private while having the ability to shift workloads seamlessly between the two. By enabling organizations to live-migrate workloads and extend into an identical virtual machine without re-platforming, re-hosting, or reconfigurations, VMware Cloud on AWS makes an organization’s IT environment much more flexible.

What are the potential benefits of the new VMWare and AWS partnership?

Some organizations are ready to shed their data centers and commit to total migration to a public cloud. But for a variety of reasons such as data privacy, regulatory, compliance, security, and re-platforming challenges, many organizations are not prepared to massively dump their own data centers for the public cloud.  In fact, studies have shown that more than 70% of the workloads are still sitting on-prem. For these customers, VMware Cloud on AWS provides several important advantages.

The most obvious benefit of VMware Cloud on AWS is that it gives VMware customers immediate access to the complete range of AWS services as an extension of their existing VMware solution suite.  Organizations can accelerate the realization of the value potential of the public cloud beyond just the basic IaaS cost take out.

The cost and challenges of re-platforming goes away and customers can maintain control of their existing (often highly customized) data centers and use AWS for overflow during periods of peak demand—a big advantage in retail and other industries that experience seasonal fluctuations. The extension of an organization’s own on-prem data center directly into the public cloud can more than double the average on-prem workload efficiency with seamless flexing of the workloads to the public cloud during peaks.

For existing VMware customers, it also extends the lifetime value of the organization’s existing skill sets. Instead of investing time and resources to learn a new platform, VMware customers gain access to new services using their workforces existing knowledge.

What are some of the challenges VMware on AWS presents to CIOs and IT organizations?

VMware Cloud on AWS isn’t the right fit for every organization. There are some hidden costs to consider before the benefits can be realized.  Many organizations will have to upgrade their SDDC versions and perhaps modernize their DC to make it cloud ready before taking advantage of this solution.  There are also other licensing cost considerations that should be carefully examined to see if there are clear cost advantages for lift and shift workload patterns.

This solution is clearly a joint strategy by VMware and AWS to tag team against Microsoft and especially against Azure’s recent hybrid cloud strategy around the availability of Azure stacks.  Organizations with a large Microsoft footprint might want to consider Azure and that is certainly not supported by this solution.  Most organizations are adopting a multi-cloud strategy and because this is an AWS centric solution, organization will now have to prepare different migration strategies for each cloud.

In Summary

As established leaders in the private and public cloud, VMware and AWS are giving organizations a real hybrid choice that is not either/or but both private and public.  This will further accelerate the massive cloud shift that is already taking place by reducing risk and providing more options at the infrastructure layer so that organizations can have more flexibility in the application layer.

It also goes beyond managing infrastructure costs and provides access to cloud native services from AWS that are not available on-prem today. To maximize return, CIOs will need to modernize and analyze how VMware Cloud on AWS can open the door to innovation in the enterprise.

VMware and AWS just upped the ante on the rest of the field.  Let’s see how the rest of the industry responds because competition is always good for the rest of us.

To learn more about how Capgemini is supporting VMware Cloud on AWS, email me at charlie.li@capgemini.com

For additional information on Capgemini’s cloud practice, visit: https://www.capgemini.com/cloud-choice

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