You get VMware, everyone gets VMware!

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Earlier this week Google announced that they will be joining AWS and Azure in being able to deliver VMware based offering to their customers. Source: https://cloud.google.com/blog/topics/partners/vmware-cloud-foundation-comes-to-google-cloud

Google will soon be providing a VMware Cloud Foundation solution as part of their plattform, which is essentially that you get a VMware based private cloud within GCP. This solution will be provided from a VMware partner called Cloudsimple, which has also created the same VMware offering for Microsoft Azure.

The last year, Google and VMware has been working together to deliver new functionality for hybrid scenarios, such as with Google Anthos which provides the GKE (Google Kubernetes Engine) on-premises for VMware only, and also with the introduction of  Google Cloud plug-in for VMware vRealize Automation and lastly with support between Velocloud and Google Cloud as well.

Now unlike the offering for Google and Microsoft where the solution is provided by Cloudsimple, the VMware offering on AWS is something that is built-up from scratch and support provided directly from the vendors themselves. This of course provides a much tighter integration layer between the offerings. AWS has also been working with VMware to be able to provide the popular AWS RDS service on VMware as well –> https://aws.amazon.com/rds/vmware/

And the latest part is the new offering based upon AWS Outposts. This will provide VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts which is a fully-managed VMware SDDC solution and AWS compute and storage on-premises. It is going to be interesting to see how that competes with Azure Stack.

So it seems like VMware is everywhere these days….So why all this fuzz? why is Google and Microsoft investing into providing a Cloud based Offering based upon a competitor??  and why is AWS also focusing on delivering VMware based solutions?

Looking at many of my own customers today, most of them use VMware for their datacenters. They have knowledge on how to maintain and operate a VMware based datacenter. Many of their applications will require to run on virtual infrastructure for the foreseeable future and that is not just because of having legacy applications, but also because of the complexity such as CAD workloads, complex integrations, specific storage requirements, capacity or they don’t have any plans to make large changes to their applications. So for most cloud providers it is important to build a “landing zone” for these customers to be able to migrate their virtual machines out there and then later now build-on the existing solutions.

And now as part of all these announcements that VMware is coming to all the major cloud platforms, VMware also announced yesterday that they are coming with a new version of their HCX offering (https://cloud.vmware.com/community/2019/08/08/introducing-hcx-enterprise/) to be able to provide even better migration options between multi-cloud and any/any vision. Makes sense right?

HCX already provides a pretty simple way to do migration from vSphere to vSphere leveraging NSX based technology underneath to handle the layer 2 traffic across.

But let’s get back to the Cloudsimple solution! The solution itself is essentially a private offering of VMware Cloud Foundation where you have the following components (not running nested!)

  • vSphere
  • NSX-T
  • vSAN

Now regardless if the solution is deployed within the Microsoft datacenters there is still an ExpressRoute connection that will be automatically configured between the “Azure Core” and the “Azure VMware Solution” and much of the operations options above in the Azure portal is based upon a resource provider that Cloudsimple has created.

VMware Solution on Azure by CloudSimple Overview

The Cloudsimple solution in Azure runs on dedicated nodes (dedicated and isolated bare-metal hardware) and is consumed by users through native VMware tools that include vCenter and NSX Manager. Dedicated nodes are deployed in Azure locations and are managed by Azure. Here you can use either Pay-as-you-go nodes or Reserved, dedicated nodes. To create a VMware cluster in Azure there is minimum number of 3 nodes to create a cluster, but you can have up til 16 nodes.

Minimum number of nodes to create a private cloud 3
Maximum number of nodes in a cluster on a private cloud 16
Maximum number of nodes in a private cloud 64

One of the cool things that Cloudsimple has built as part of their resource provider, is an gateway between Azure ARM and the vSphere API’s which allows people to deploy ARM templates directly to Azure which in turn will provision virtual machines directly in vSphere.

Create CloudSimple Virtual Machine - Basics

Is it however important to understand that since the VMware Cloudsimple solution is a dedicated solution running inside Azure and that the integration is based upon an resource provider and networking based upon ExpressRoute, this means that many of the Azure Services will not work with CloudSimple, now services which operate at regular networking layer will work (This means load balancing, application gateway, azure netapp files for instance), but there is no built-in support for services such as

  • Azure Backup – Requires you to have another backup solution to handle the virtual machines on the platform
  • Azure Migrate – Should look at HCX Enterprise
  • Azure Monitor (all audit logs will be generated within the CloudSimple service portal)

So it is important to look at the CloudSimple solution is basically a Site-to-Site connected solution directly to Azure with some custom resource providers. You will still need to manage it as a regular VMware cluster and all parts that come with it, such as backup, monitoring and such.

Also you should remember that unlike virtual machines that you can setup in Azure using AS or Availabilty Zones, the Private Cloud solution is maintained within a single AZ and therefore cannot provide the same level of SLA like regular IaaS in Azure, the guaranteed SLA is 99.9 percent.

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About the Author: Marius Sandbu

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