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AWS: Trends and Developments

How is the cooperation between AWS and VMware shaping up? Which opportunities does AWS offer for Microsoft customers and workloads? Our expert Marco Vogel has taken a closer look at the cross-vendor collaboration and compatibility and will use this article to highlight the latest developments in the AWS universe.

AWS and VMware

The VMware Cloud on AWS is available in the Americas, EMEA and APJ. Quite a thing, since VMware struggled in the past to have a true hybrid or public cloud story. With the AWS partnership, this is quite a milestone. VMware customers want the service, and the migration times into the cloud using HCX are unbeatable – so it’s certainly the simplest way to gain a foothold in the cloud. . Not being a techie, however, I had not initially grasped the full extent of the collaboration. I had viewed it to 90% as a VMware development. AWS provides the space and the generic hardware in its data centers, while VMware uses the facilities to install and operate its Solution Stack, returning the favor by offering a well-lit back door emblazoned with a huge sign stating “AWS NATIVE SERVICES”. Anyone looking to move data even faster to the AWS data center can simply use the AWS Direct Connect or the legendary Snow Mobile.

Now I have a better picture of which side is actually responsible for the individual contributions. One might say it’s 60% VMware and 40% AWS. But the dovetailing and integration of VMware Cloud Foundation, i.e. VMC, in the native AWS Services have actually progressed much further than I was able to grasp with my limited perceptual horizon. One example is the “Elastic vSAN” enabled by integration within the AWS EBS or the Encryption Services. Accompanied, of course, by outstanding availabilities due to automatic Host Remediation (automated, proactive host switch, e.g. if problems appear likely, naturally live with Elastic DRS) and the Stretched Cluster feature across all data centers within one AWS region.

The biggest news in relation to AWS and VMware? It is most definitely the announced AWS Outposts. This means that AWS is moving into the data center. But let’s backpedal for a moment first: AWS does acknowledge the existence and underlying sense of maintaining proprietary data centers. That will be a relief to many customers: It is not necessary to shift everything into the cloud, and the future will be hybrid, in the medium term at least. The Outposts are AWS “mini data centers” that allow customers to use native AWS Services in their own data center – ahhh: wasn’t there once talk of Azure On-Premises as well?

Back to VMware/ AWS: The Outposts are optionally available with AWS Cloud Foundation. This means that customers can also use VMC on the AWS Outposts – on-premises. That’s something I find really exciting.

AWS and Microsoft workloads

Windows workloads on AWS is celebrating their 10th anniversary! That’s quite an achievement. For some time now, users creating EC instances in AWS have had the option of checking the box for Win Server or even SQL, and it is sometimes even possible to include MS licenses from an existing MS volume program. One would be forgiven for thinking that MS workloads play only a marginal role on AWS. But actually the opposite is true: An IDC study indicates that 58% of all global, cloud-based Win workloads run on one single hyperscaler: AWS. It is all the more remarkable if one considers that Azure, as home base for Win workloads, records an excellent second place – with just over 30%.

In a nutshell: AWS is by far the biggest Microsoft SPLA hoster, and Microsoft earns a pretty penny every time MS machines start in AWS. But it also means that it makes technical and business sense to run MS workloads in the AWS world – after all, they have been doing it for longer than Microsoft itself. AWS is also investing in the indispensable tools for a simple migration of workloads from Azure to AWS – well, others manage that as well, in all directions and back again. The AWS License Manager is a more attractive option, especially as Microsoft licenses can easily account for 90% of the total price for an EC instance. Active Directory Cross VPC Support is also a pretty big deal, as are the improvements in the SQL server performance, the announced Container Management for Windows or the hibernate function from Microsoft EC instances. Interestingly, AWS also has a suggestion for quick migration of on-premises Windows machines to the AWS world: VMware Cloud on AWS and migration using Hybrid Cloud Extension – it’s a good choice if one considers that a significant majority of all servers virtualized with VMware are … drum roll … Windows servers!

Leipzig, 02 / 08 / 2019

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