6.2 min to readCloud ServicesPublisher Advisory Services

VMware in the cloud: are we in the right place?

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Marco VogelBusiness Development Manager
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The world seems divided in to two. On the one hand, every IT department wants to cut expenses, become more agile, and prefer to pay for something only when they need it. The goal is to contribute more to the company's success, and the only way is seemingly to go to the hyperscaler cloud.

On the other hand, there is still the traditional data center IT world, which can sometimes even be seen as a dirty word. In fact, a lot of money is still flowing into traditional IT, even though this will change in favor of public cloud providers in a few years.

In the data center, VMware technology has a central place with most of our customers. Workloads, storage, and networking are virtualized; and what has been virtualized must also be managed and operated. In addition, many customers also use VMware technology to provide virtual desktops to their users or to manage application access and endpoints.

How do you get the two worlds together? As a customer, do you have to give up the VMware experience when you go to the cloud? Is VMware really so 2012? Or is it possible to go to the cloud as a VMware-empowered customer?

1. Do you have to go all in on cloud?

Of course, this is always a fundamental discussion, but VMware does not call its software-defined data center "private cloud" for no reason. The old adage "it doesn’t matter who scores the goals as long as we win" applies. And a well-managed, automated private cloud isn’t necessarily more expensive than public cloud, especially if you consider that many businesses already have existing VMware assets. These can be, for example, previous VMware purchases, well-trained employees, years of experience with VMware, and existing add-on technology, such as backup or security, which is optimally matched to the private cloud. In many cases, it often comes down to a hybrid solution anyway.

2. What about when the boss says: "We need to be in the cloud asap"?

There are numerous examples where a lift-and-shift migration AKA "take the environment and move it to AWS/Azure/etc. native services" was not necessarily a complete success. The reasons are many: not enough skills among the employees or the much-vaunted OpEx costs, which come monthly as expected, but are unexpectedly quite high (keyword egress charges). In short: A migration of this kind needs a master plan and, ideally, the data, workloads, and applications to be migrated should be given a second and third look before they are sent to the cloud. This can take time if you really want to make every application cloud-ready. Quite a few cloud projects fall behind schedule because one or more of the applications was not on the radar at the beginning, or the overall number of applications was underestimated. Once you have everything in the cloud, the cost savings are realized only with merciless automation and optimization. This requires a high level of knowledge on the part of the employees or the partner with whom one works. In addition, when you book resources (like reserved instances on AWS), you end up with the vendor lock-in that you wanted to avoid.

3. VMware Cloud: cloud without the cloud headaches

Customers want to move quickly to the cloud and want to ensure that their familiar processes, security parameters, management tools, and so forth work in the cloud. They want to know that the assets in the data center and in the cloud can really be managed "seamlessly." Here it is worth looking at VMware's "co-opetition" with the various hyperscalers. VMware Cloud on AWS is the jointly developed solution from VMware and AWS and the first enterprise-ready solution. In the meantime, Microsoft and Google have followed suit with Azure VMware Solutions and Google Cloud VMware Engine, respectively. What all these solutions have in common is that the hyperscalers offer you their public cloud data center servers with a native VMware solution stack. These new leased VMware cloud resources behave just like normal VMware clusters in vCenter, except that the "cable is a little longer." In return, you get a truly global infrastructure that you don't have to worry about managing and is almost infinitely scalable. In addition, there are well-lit pathways to the other native cloud services from the hyperscalers’ VMware offerings.

4. vSphere in the cloud is not witchcraft. Automation and security are the key!

vSphere is the gold standard in the data center, but do you need it in the cloud? Admittedly, it makes things easier and you're working with familiar technologies, but there's a catch, and that's why hyperscalers don't offer such VMware solutions. Many VMware customers have invested a lot in the effective management and automation of their environment in recent years, for example, in the vRealize Operations and Automation product family. But of more importance is the networking component. If you want consistent network management in a hybrid environment, VMware's NSX(-T) is bound to end up on the short list. We have some customers who have cancelled native AWS or Azure projects because without NSX, the security parameters are only given to the cloud with major detours. Only when the hyperscalers offered a corresponding VMware offering did they come back to the table.

This was a wake-up moment for the hyperscalers. Many previously considered vSphere to be VMware's key technology, but for enterprise customers, the management, automation, and security tools have become much more critical. VMware has recognized this and is heavily investing in its multi-cloud management product, renamed VMware Aria, and endorsed by the analysts (IDC, Forrester, etc.). The strongest point in this chain of arguments, however, is the fact that the hyperscalers recognize the necessity of this with their VMware offerings.

We as SoftwareOne have had the opportunity to implement various VMware Cloud projects on Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud. If you have ideas or projects in mind here, we will of course be happy to help. We also offer solution assessments or POCs for all of the above, some of which are even funded by the hyperscalers and VMware! We hope you’ll reach out.

5 takeaways

VMC on AWS is the solution that has been on the market the longest. Accordingly, from our perspective, it is still somewhat ahead technically. From a commercial perspective, what is exciting for many customers is that it also counts against the AWS EDP commitment and can be purchased via the AWS Marketplace.

Azure VMware Solutions has its strengths especially when many Microsoft-based workloads are run in AVS. Here, too, the AHUB (Azure Hybrid Use Benefits) take effect. This is particularly noticeable on the commercial numbers side.

Google Cloud Platform as the next competitor has its strengths primarily in the greater flexibility of commercial terms. If you already use a cloud provider in your company, you should take a closer look at this offering. It would be a logical choice. The subsequent advantage then also lies in the good linking or integration with the native services of the hyperscaler. Only if the offering does not meet the technical requirements should other offerings be shortlisted. In terms of price, the offerings are very similar.

Pay-as-you-go options make limited sense in terms of price with these offerings. All of them offer the option of reserving resources for 1 or 3 years. In return, of course, you are in vendor lock-in, but are rewarded with big discounts.

Migrations are a breeze in most cases. VMware HCX works from on-premises to the hyperscalers and by the way also between the VMware hyperscaler offerings. We would be happy to talk more about this in an initial joint discussion.

VMware Cloud on AWS offers multiple options for entering the public cloud and extending or modernizing existing VMware infrastructures. But you don't have to master the path to the hybrid cloud alone, and you don't have to master it from one article. We will be happy to come by and explain everything in a clear and easy-to-understand manner.

For this purpose, we offer a series of workshops in which we present the VMware solutions in detail in a demo environment – remotely or at your site. We explain the solution in depth in a way that everyone can understand and answer your questions. Together we look at your environment and discuss your challenges and goals.

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We support you in your move to the cloud!

SoftwareOne has been a VMware partner for many years and holds the highest achievable status as a Principal Partner. We support you in the optimization of your VMware workloads, the planning and implementation of cloud projects, as well as VMware license management and compliance. Together we will find the right solution for your needs and support you every step of the way.

We support you in your move to the cloud!

SoftwareOne has been a VMware partner for many years and holds the highest achievable status as a Principal Partner. We support you in the optimization of your VMware workloads, the planning and implementation of cloud projects, as well as VMware license management and compliance. Together we will find the right solution for your needs and support you every step of the way.


A portrait of a man in a suit and tie.

Marco Vogel
Business Development Manager