VMware Cloud on AWS  – Getting Started as a vSphere Admin – VMware vSphere Blog

What is VMware Cloud on AWS?

If you’re a VMworld regular or follow our announcements you’ve probably heard of VMware Cloud on AWS, but if you haven’t let me summarise. At it’s heart, it is a service (and this is an important point) which allows you to consume VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) running on bare metal in Amazon Web Services (AWS) availability zones. Initially only a single region available, but we’re rapidly expanding the service in order to achieve global coverage. VMware Cloud on AWS is offered in 15 regions not including GovCloud today, with more being added every quarter. VCF is a suite of products including VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN and VMware NSX wrapped in some lifecycle automation goodness.

What does “as-a-service” mean in this case?

I’m glad you asked. In this case, you subscribe to the service and VMware manages the environment for you. This means that if a host fails, VMware will replace that host. VMware will patch those hosts as and when required. Configure automatic scale-out and scale-in as required so you pay only for the number of hosts that you require. Choose to pay on-demand, or commit to either 1 or 3 years for serious discounts – similar to other Public Clouds. The greatest thing about VMware Cloud on AWS though: you get that consistency of management and deployment.

Why use VMware Cloud on AWS?

I mentioned the consistency of operations. We’ve plenty of content out there describing the key use cases that we think are a great fit for this offering, but let’s summarise:

Cloud Migrations

Some companies have a cloud-first policy, and of those many are looking to get out of the on-premises datacenter game. VMware Cloud on AWS offers a simple method to get your vSphere workloads out of your datacenter and into the cloud, where you can start looking at the next use-case.

Next-Gen Apps

One of the super cool things about moving your workloads into VMware Cloud on AWS is that it can be a great step for those applications that you’re looking to migrate to cloud-native apps. You can place your existing architecture super close to the AWS services that you may need to interact with as you make your journey to cloud native apps.

Disaster Recovery

This use case is pretty popular. You don’t necessarily want hardware, power, cooling and licenses for software sitting idle in a cold Disaster Recovery site. We cover this use case in the Cloud Blog.

Datacenter Extension

In this blog series we’ll be focussed on this use case. Aimed at customers who need to expand their footprint, but don’t want that expansion to be within their own datacenters.

Why is VMware Cloud on AWS a great fit? Let’s take a look.

Seasonal Workload Spikes

You’ve probably heard about this situation already. Many workloads flex over time – some examples are the online betting companies which see spikes in workload around major sporting events, retail organisations see a spike around Black Friday and Christmas, educational establishments see a workload spike around the beginning of the academic year when their next intake enrol. Obviously, these are just a few examples, but the chances are that your environment has some form of seasonal workloads.

How do you plan capacity to meet these requirements? If those spikes are significant you may scale out to handle this, but that means buying in hardware in readiness. Until you need it, this hardware sits idling. Alternatively, you buy in new capacity in the weeks leading up to this spike in order to give yourselves time to deploy these hosts in order to handle the workload when it scales out.

VMware Cloud on AWS can help! With the capability to extend your existing networks into the VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC with VMware HCX, and leveraging Elastic DRS have the number of hosts being used scale out as required you can run these seasonal workloads in your cloud SDDC, and when the spike drops simply decommission these new hosts automatically in accordance to your Elastic DRS policy. As you can pay for these on-demand, you can make significant cost savings vs buying in new hosts that will sit idle after your spike subsides.

Datacenter Capacity Limits

Maybe you’re running your current datacenters at maximum capacity, but your workloads continue to grow? Again, VMware Cloud on AWS can help you here! In a similar way to the above, you can extend your on-premises networks into the cloud and have workloads running in both locations, without needing to setup complex routing between locations. More long-term capacity requirements? Save 30% – 50% vs on-demand pricing by committing to a 1 or 3-year subscription. If you need to free up capacity on-premises, simply seamlessly migrate some of your workloads into the cloud SDDC. This can be useful if you have end of life hardware that you need to replace.

Data Sovereignty Requirements

VMware Cloud on AWS is available in many regions globally, which enables you to keep your data within a specific geographical region while still leveraging high availability by stretching your clusters across availability zones within the region. This might not be enough for your requirements though: maybe you need to hold your databases within your own datacenter in order to meet security requirements. You can run your web-tier in the cloud but keep your application and database tiers on-premises.

Consistency is key!

All of the above are great reasons to use VMware Cloud on AWS. For me the most important thing from the perspective of a vSphere administrator is the fact that under the hood everything is vSphere. Use your existing skills and tools to manage this – with Hybrid Linked Mode you can manage all of your SDDCs from the same interface. Leverage the same APIs to manage your cloud SDDC as you use for your on-premises SDDC. Use tools like PowerCLI, so no learning new tools to manage things!


As you can see, VMware Cloud on AWS can be a great fit for a number of use cases. We’re going to be walking you through everything that you need to get up and running in this blog series. If you would like to learn more, then sign up for the VMware Cloud on AWS Hands-on-Lab. To go even further, consider getting started with a single node environment and use the VMware Cloud on AWS Evaluation Guide to get the most out of your testing.


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