VMware Cloud on AWS FAQs

General 

What is VMware Cloud on AWS? 

VMware Cloud on AWS is a hybrid cloud solution that brings VMware’s enterprise-class SDDC software to the AWS Cloud with optimised access to native AWS services. Powered by VMware Cloud Foundation, VMware Cloud on AWS integrates VMware’s compute, storage and network virtualisation products (VMware vSphere, VMware vSAN and VMware NSX) along with VMware vCenter Server management, optimised to run on dedicated, elastic, bare-metal AWS infrastructure. 

Why should I use VMware Cloud on AWS? 

VMware Cloud on AWS provides you with a consistent and interoperable infrastructure and services between VMware-based data centres and the AWS cloud, which minimises the complexity and associated risks of managing diverse environments. VMware Cloud on AWS offers native access to AWS services and innovation that extends the value of enterprise applications over their lifecycle. 

What are the key use cases for VMware Cloud on AWS? 

From education and healthcare, to financial services, manufacturing and retail, organisations from every industry are solving business challenges and discovering new possibilities with VMware Cloud on AWS.  Though new use cases are emerging all the time, the most popular use cases in 2019 were: 

  • Data centre extension – ideal for organisations with a need to scale up compute and storage resources quickly without overprovisioning 
  • Cloud migration – for organisations looking to minimise complexity and risk, the ability to move to the cloud without having to re-architect apps has made VMware Cloud on AWS a popular choice 
  • Disaster recovery – delivering on-demand site protection with native automated orchestration, failover and fallback capabilities, VMware Cloud on AWS has become a popular choice for organisations looking to establish new or modernise existing DR solutions. 
  • Next generation apps – also showing considerable appeal has been the potential to modernise existing apps with AWS capabilities and services and integrate modern app tools and frameworks to develop next generation apps. 

Where is VMware Cloud on AWS available? 

AWS Data Centre Locations as of January 2020

Can workloads running in a VMware Cloud on AWS instance integrate with AWS services? 

Yes. VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC is directly connected to the customer’s VPC using Elastic Network Interface (ENI) and therefore has access to AWS services. Virtual machine workloads can access public API endpoints for AWS services such as AWS Lambda, Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS), Amazon S3 and Elastic Load Balancing, as well as private resources in the customer’s Amazon VPC such as Amazon EC2, and data and analytics services such as Amazon RDS, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon Kinesis and Amazon Redshift.  

Customers can also now enjoy Amazon Elastic File System (EFS) for fully managed file service to scale the file-based storage automatically to petabyte scale with high availability and durability across multiple Availability Zones (AZs) and the newest generation of VPC Endpoints designed to access AWS services while keeping all the traffic within the AWS network. 

How do I sign up for and get started with VMware Cloud on AWS? 

Contact Xtravirt. As a VMware Cloud on AWS Master Services Competent partner we can guide you through this cloud solution. We can work with you to validate this cloud option for your organisation, plan, design and deploy VMware Cloud on AWS along with providing ongoing managed services. 

How is VMware Cloud on AWS deployed? 

VMware Cloud on AWS infrastructure runs on dedicated, single tenant hosts provided by AWS in a single account. Each host is equivalent to an Amazon EC2 I3 metal instance (2 sockets with 18 cores per socket, 512 GiB RAM, and 15.2 TB Raw SSD storage). Each host is capable of running many VMware Virtual Machines (tens to hundreds depending on their compute, memory and storage requirements). Clusters can range from a minimum 3 hosts up to a maximum of 16 hosts per cluster. A single VMware vCenter server is deployed per SDDC environment. 

What SDDC products do I need to have on-premises for VMware Cloud on AWS? 

The more software-defined you are with VMware technologies on-premises, the more value you can derive out of VMware Cloud on AWS. With this release, there is expanded support for on-premises vCenter running VMware vSphere 6.0 u3 patch c or later. However, you can still move workloads to and from VMware Cloud on AWS by performing cold migrations of the VMs. No conversion or modification is required. You can also just run VMware Cloud on AWS standalone with only a web browser. Please refer to the VMware Compatibility Guide for more information. 

What version of VMware vSphere do I need in my on-premises environment? 

With vSphere 6.0 or later running in your on-premises environment, you can move workloads to and from VMware Cloud on AWS by doing a cold migration of VMs. No conversion or modification is necessary. In order to take advantage of “Hybrid Linked Mode” for single pane of glass management between your on-premises environment and VMware Cloud on AWS, you must have VMware vSphere 6.5 or later. 

How do I manage resources on VMware Cloud on AWS? 

You can use the same management tools you use today. A vCenter Server instance is deployed as part of every VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC. You may connect to this vCenter Server instance to manage your VMware Cloud on AWS clusters. A VMware Cloud Web Console is provided which allows for common tasks such as the add/remove hosts, configure firewalls and other basic networking settings. It is important to note that tools that require plug-ins or extensive vSphere permissions may not function properly in VMware Cloud on AWS. VMware Cloud on AWS uses a least privilege security model in which you (and therefore your tools) do not have full administrative access. 

Can I manage both my existing data centre VMware vSphere VMs and my VMware Cloud on AWS instances in a single view? 

You will need vSphere version 6.5 and vCenter Server 6.5 or later running in your data centre to use vCenter Hybrid Linked Mode for single pane of glass management of resources on-premises and in the cloud. If you do not have VMware vSphere 6.5 or later running in your on-premises environment, you will need to run multiple vCenter instances to manage your environment: one vCenter instance on-premises and one vCenter instance in VMware Cloud on AWS. 

Can I migrate existing vSphere VMs to my VMware Cloud on AWS deployment? 

Yes. There are multiple ways to migrate existing vSphere VMs to VMware Cloud on AWS. You can perform a live migration of vSphere VMs via vMotion or by leveraging VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX). 

How does VMware Cloud on AWS provide faster time-to-protection? 

VMware Site Recovery allows customers to protect critical data and applications while taking advantage of cloud flexibility and economics—enabling admins to accelerate their time-to-protection by removing the need to build a secondary DR site and by dramatically simplifying DR operations and enabling ‘DR in a day’. 

What is a VMware Cloud on AWS stretched cluster? 

A stretched cluster is a deployment model in which two or more VMware Cloud on AWS clusters are part of the same logical cluster but are located in separate Availability Zones (AZs).  Stretched clusters facilitate zero RPO infrastructure availability for mission-critical applications. This enables you to failover workloads with zero RPO within clusters spanning two AWS Availability Zones. It also enables developers to focus on core application requirements and capabilities, instead of infrastructure availability. With this feature, you can deploy a single SDDC across two AZs.  

Stretched clusters also have the capability to simplify redundancy. 

What is the VMware Cloud on AWS roadmap? 

The VMware Cloud on AWS roadmap can be found here.

Pricing 

What pricing options are available for VMware Cloud on AWS? 

The VMware Cloud on AWS service provides simple yet flexible options to consume VMware’s powerful software capabilities and AWS’s elastic, bare-metal infrastructure as a combined offering with support included. This offering can be purchased on-demand, or as 1-year or 3-year subscriptions. If you choose the on-demand option, billing is done at the end of the month in arrears and if you choose 1-year or 3-year subscription option, you will need to prepay upfront. 

Minimum required configuration for production environment is 3 hosts per cluster. Above the minimum, hosts can be added or removed in 1 unit increments. 

Latest VMware Cloud on AWS pricing information, including the currencies that are supported for purchasing can be found on the pricing page on the VMware website.   

Security and Compliance 

How effective is VMware Cloud on AWS security? 

VMware Cloud on AWS is compliant with major ISO standards such as 27001, 27017 and 27018 regarding Codes of Practice for General Global Security, Information Security Controls and Protecting Personal data in the cloud, it is also SOC (1,2 and 3) complaint and GDPR Ready. 

How does VMware protect customer data in VMware Cloud on AWS? 

VMware Cloud on AWS is designed with multiple layers of protection. The service inherits all of the physical and network protections of the AWS infrastructure and adds dedicated compute and storage along with the security capabilities built into vSphere, vSAN and NSX. All data transmitted between your customer site and the service can be encrypted via VPN. All data between the VMware Cloud on AWS service and your SDDCs is encrypted. Data at rest is encrypted. The VMware Cloud on AWS infrastructure is monitored and regularly tested for security vulnerabilities and hardened to enhance security. 

Where is “customer content” physically located and how is it protected? 

VMware Cloud on AWS is deployed in AWS data centres in multiple regions throughout the world. You select the AWS region where your SDDC will be deployed, and your “customer content” will persist in that data centre.  VMware maintains an information security management program that is aligned with the ISO 27001 standard (as applicable), which is reviewed at least annually to ensure appropriate controls, practices and procedures are in place. 

What compliance certifications and attestations does VMware Cloud on AWS have? 

VMware is committed to delivering a cloud service that meets a comprehensive set of international and industry-specific security and compliance standards. VMware adheres to very rigorous secure development and operational standards and actively conducts third-party audits in order to expand the list of certifications, attestations and adoptions of frameworks. The current list of certifications and attestations that the VMware Cloud on AWS service has achieved is published here.  

Xtravirt and VMware Cloud on AWS 

How can Xtravirt help you with VMware Cloud on AWS?

Xtravirt provides services to help you through every stage of your cloud journey, from assessing cloud readiness to data centre expansion and migration. Contact us to find out more.

How does Xtravirt validate their VMware Cloud on AWS professional services capabilities? 

Xtravirt is one of a select group of VMware Partners to have achieved the highest validation of professional services capabilities in relation to VMware Cloud on AWS – the VMware Cloud on AWS Master Services Competency (MSC).   

Discover more about VMware’s Master Services Competencies and what it takes to achieve one in this Guide to VMware Master Services Competencies.

Xtravirt also received the ‘Most innovative VMware Cloud on AWS use case 2019’ award from VMware. 

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