Some Thoughts on VMware Cloud on AWS Stretched Clusters

Companies are considering a variety of migration strategies as they are looking to leverage the cloud. For VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) migration is one of the key use cases that VMware have promoted (alongside Disaster Recovery). A key benefit touted by VMware for their offering is the ability to re-host applications without having to re-platform or re-architect, however, this is not without caveats when it comes to availability and resiliency.

For a customer migrating to the cloud, delivering the right level of resiliency and availability is a key concern. On AWS the Availability Zone is a key building block for designing available architectures. For customers who are willing to re-architect their application, designing the application to ensure resiliency in the face of an AZ loss is critical, as well as ensuring customers are eligible for AWS SLA credits in the event of an EC2 outage! But what options are available for delivering multi-AZ availability when pursuing a re-host migration strategy?

For VMware Cloud on AWS, delivering this re-host capability this is also one of the most significant limitations with what is currently available. When customers provisioned a new SDDC it could only be placed within a single Availability Zone (AZ). The combination of vSphere HA, vSAN’s erasure coding, and VMC’s auto-remediation of failed hosts ensured that failures of the individual bare metal EC2 instances could be handled well. However, there remained an issue of protecting against failures of entire Availability Zones.

With the unveiling of a technology preview of their new stretched clustering capability, VMware is presenting a differentiated offering. Stretched networking, by NSX, and stretched storage, from vSAN, combine with vSphere’s HA to deliver a platform that delivers resiliency against AZ failure, without having to re-architect or re-platform your application to take advantage of multiple Availability Zones. On the vSAN side, the increased costs of mirroring the storage are now offset by the introduction of deduplication and compression support. More details were shared during VMware’s recent Cloud Briefing event and I also spoke about VMware’s plans here during my VMC storage deep-dive session at VMworld.

It will be interesting to see how VMware’s customers evaluate this new offering when it moves out of tech preview status and into General Availability.

VMware Cloud on AWS Storage Deep-Dive

At VMworld earlier this year I presented a deep-dive on vSAN storage for VMware Cloud on AWS with Matt Amdur. This was an interesting topic as we’d had to deliver some enhancements to vSAN for deployment onto the Amazon EC2 Bare Metal instances, now that they’ve been released there are a few more public details that can be shared!

At VMworld we covered a few key topics including the host and cluster configuration on EC2 Bare Metal instances, how we were operating the storage in AWS that would be a little different from how on-premises customers would operate, and a few peaks into the unique features delivered for VMware Cloud on AWS and a look into our plans.

At the recent re:Invent conference, AWS launched their new EC2 Bare Metal instances. VMware were early customers of this instance and worked collaboratively with AWS to ensure the new bare metal platform was a good platform for running ESXi and vSAN. With the launch of the solution, AWS was more open about talking details on their platform. Check out the session by Aaron Blassius and Matt Wilson sharing details on the new platform we are using for VMware Cloud on AWS.

VMware Cloud on AWS – Disaster Recovery and other use cases

I was lucky enough to be able to share some details about the new VMware Site Recovery service at the AWS re:Invent conference alongside Wen Yu. In the VMware Cloud on AWS technical deep dive and native service integration session we covered some key use cases customers are looking to address with VMware Cloud on AWS including:

  • Disaster Recovery
  • Database Migration
  • Securing web/content management

Check out the session (recorded the day before the official launch) on Youtube

Launch Often! VMware Cloud on AWS

At VMworld, back in August, the first version of VMware Cloud on AWS was launched. Now three months later we’re doing it again! As the Product Manager owning the storage and disaster recovery initiatives it’s been a great experience to work with the joint VMware and AWS teams as we delivered the storage platform for VMware Cloud on AWS (built with vSAN), and are now delivering new Disaster Recovery (DR) capabilities with VMware Site Recovery.

Delivering improved resiliency and DR options has been an important focus for VMware Cloud on AWS. This new capability allows customers to protect their mission-critical workloads running on-premises to VMware Cloud on AWS, or vice-versa. We also support protection between VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs. This enables customers to protect workloads across different AWS Availability Zones, or even between AWS Regions with the newly announced support for US East (N. Virginia).

It’s also been a great experience to work closely with some of our forward-looking customers as we’ve been developing VMware Cloud on AWS. Listen to one of these early customers share their view of the collaboration between VMware and AWS, and the new capabilities we’re delivering.

More details on the VMware Site Recovery solutions can be found on the VMware Cloud Services site: