VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, left, and AWS CEO Andy Jassy, discuss the companies' partnership at VMworld 2017. 

Aug 28 2017

VMworld 2017: VMware Brings Its Cloud Services to AWS

VMware announces the initial availability of VMware Cloud on Amazon Web Services to give businesses greater flexibility.

Life is about to get a lot easier for VMware customers who want to keep using the company’s data center management tools and run some of their corporate VMware virtual machines on Amazon Web Services.

On Monday at the VMworld 2017 conference in Las Vegas, VMware announced the initial availability of VMware Cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides all of the enterprise software capabilities of VMware, including its software-defined data center (SDDC) stack, in the public cloud environment of AWS. The offering will be sold, operated and supported by VMware.

The highly anticipated rollout, born of an alliance first announced in October 2016, will let VMware customers run apps across “operationally consistent” VMware vSphere-based private, public and hybrid cloud environments, with optimized access to AWS services. IT teams will be able to use identical skills, tools and processes for managing private and public cloud environments, giving them consistent operations, improved productivity and lower costs.

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger said during the opening keynote that the partnership is “thrilling” and that the companies’ engineering and marketing departments have just scratched the surface on the collaboration.

The offering initially will be available in the U.S. West (Oregon) AWS Region, and will be expanded to other AWS regions in the U.S. and around the world over the course of 2018.

Today, customers can use the service hourly, paying only for each hour that a host is active in their account. VMware plans to introduce one-year and three-year subscription offerings in the future.

A key goal of the service, which VMware says will be “attractively” priced, is to smoothly fit together their on-premises data center environments with AWS, using their existing tools and skill sets within a common operating environment based on familiar VMware software.

VMware says the service offers “a seamlessly integrated hybrid cloud that extends on-premises vSphere environments to a VMware SDDC running on AWS elastic, bare-metal infrastructure.”

Giving Customers More Cloud Choices

AWS CEO Andy Jassy said during the VMworld opening keynote that customers have been in a bind because VMware had not done much to integrate seamlessly. Customers were forced to choose, he said: They could either move to the public cloud with AWS and abandon the VMware tools they had invested in and used for years; or, they could stick with VMware tools and struggle to use AWS. “They hated this binary decision we were forcing on them,” Jassy said.

The agreement gives businesses the “best of both worlds,” he said, adding that the solution is cost-effective for companies that want to spin up virtual machines in similar environments.

Gelsinger said customers are excited about the agreement. VMware has been testing the service with about 50 customers, mainly large companies like ADP, Cerner, Medtronic, Ricoh and Symantec. One pilot customer, Moody’s Investors Service, wanted to achieve cost savings and gain agility but did not want to rearchitect all of its existing on-premises applications, Gelsinger said. “VMware Cloud on AWS solved that for them,” he said. “A low-risk path to the cloud with minimal disruption to IT and business operations.”

VMware Takes Its Software to AWS

The service will be sold as an on-demand, elastically scalable cloud service that VMware argues will encourage companies to move apps to the cloud, increasing the efficiency of IT teams and opening up new hybrid cloud opportunities.

VMware Cloud on AWS is powered by VMware Cloud Foundation, the unified SDDC platform that integrates vSphere, VMware VSA and VMware NSX network virtualization technologies with VMware vCenter management.

IT teams can use familiar VMware tools to manage their apps, without having to purchase any new or custom hardware, rewrite applications or modify their operating model, according to VMware.

Mark Lohmeyer, vice president of products for the cloud platform business unit at VMware, told reporters that every customer who looks at the offering will have unique costs, with different server, storage, network hardware and software configurations. However, he argued that the offering’s total cost of ownership will be less than that of a similar service over a three-year period.

Read more articles and check out videos from BizTech coverage of VMworld 2017 here

Phil Goldstein

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