VMware Cloud on AWS (VMC) is fast becoming one of the best cloud migration options for companies using VMware to extend workloads into AWS in the most cost-effective, risk-averse way possible. But what if you have vendor lock-in, and can’t make the move to the cloud with VMC?
The short answer: It’s a more common problem than you think, but there’s a way around it.
When integrating our on-premise virtual machines running on VMware with the VMware Cloud on AWS solution, a hybrid environment is typically created to integrate the on-premise VCenter console with VMC's VCenter console, using what’s called the Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX).
The HCX extends these environments and networks to the cloud seamlessly, without the need for extensive re-architecting, time-consuming re-configuration and expensive upgrades. It also provides a central management plane for both our cloud and on-premise business resources.
However, a common challenge many businesses face today is they only have a certain level of access to their VCenter console, as it is often completely managed by the service providers and managed services providers that are hosting and running their VMware-based virtual machines.
While many companies usually have access to their VMs, the host/managed service provider often does not typically give full access to the VCenter console itself, because that gives your business the flexibility to move, and it’s naturally in the host’s best interest not to grant that capability so freely.
Hence, we get vendor lock-in, and we all know in the digital age this is unnecessarily restrictive.
With the business case and proven benefits for VMware Cloud on AWS becoming more apparent, many companies want out of their current hosting vendors to move to the AWS Cloud with VMC. Traditional hosting for their VMs is slow, support outdated and ultimately considered legacy in the new world of digital transformation and the cloud, and all of its modern benefits.
So, how do you get out of it?
VMC on AWS: How to get around vendor lock-in
Installing the Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) in your VM’s source site to extend your environments and networks to AWS requires a vCenter account with administrator privileges.
If your service provider fully manages all this at present, your team might not be able to access this directly. In that case, VMware recommend using Veeam Backup & Replication as an alternative option to getting your virtual machines over to the VMware Cloud on AWS service.
Veeam provides full support for VMware Cloud on AWS via Veeam Backup & Replication, which allows you to administer backup, replication and restore operations in VMware Cloud on AWS environments. This service requires less privileges than HCX and operates at the virtualisation layer, and uses an image-based approach to replicate your virtual machines over to the target.
In the initial replication cycle, Veeam Backup & Replication works by copying your business data from the original VM running on the source host (in this case, your traditional service provider or managed service provider) and makes a full replica on the target host (VMware on AWS Cloud). A planned failover with Veeam Backup & Replication is a seamless manual switch-over from a primary virtual machine to its replica, offering businesses minimum interruption and complexity.
For all replication cycles that come after, the move is incremental, as Veeam Backup & Replication only copies data blocks altered by your team since the last replication job session.
Before using the service, Veeam recommends several key considerations to identify:
- Deploy a backup server: Veeam recommends deploying a Veeam backup server running Microsoft Windows in your intended VMware Cloud on AWS environment.
- Deploy a backup proxy: Similarly, it is recommended to deploy a backup proxy per SDDC cluster in your target VMware Cloud on AWS environment, also running Microsoft Windows, assigning the role of the backup proxy to either a dedicated VM or to the backup server.
- Backup Repository: Veeam recommends using a backup repository created outside of the VMware Cloud on AWS environment, such as on an Amazon EC2 server, to allow for more efficient data transfer between VMware and Amazon AWS. Another option is to store backups on a Veeam backup repository in your on-premise VMware environment.
In summary, if you don't have access to your VCenter, you can easily implement VMC on AWS using the Veeam Backup & Replication tool and get around vendor-lock in if you’re looking to migrate to the AWS public cloud with VMware Cloud on AWS service as soon as possible.
Why move your virtual machines to the cloud with VMware Cloud on AWS?
In the modern digital era, developing, managing and operating mission-critical applications demands a variety of supporting technology tools - analytics, backup, disaster recovery - in addition to elastic scalability to meet our evolving consumption and compute needs.
Moving towards cloud computing infrastructure means you can replace upfront capital infrastructure expenses with a ‘pay for what you use’ cost model that scales with your business needs. You don’t need to plan ahead for or pay for physical servers you don’t need, or manage infrastructure at all, as the public cloud provider (in this case, AWS) provides flexibility and handles management. You can instantly spin up servers in minutes and deliver actionable results faster, all at a much more optimised cost model - while leveraging a hybrid environment.
VMware Cloud on AWS itself is highly scalable and its elastic capabilities and streamlined interface has made it easier for businesses that aren’t yet cloud-native to move their on-premise application workloads to AWS Cloud without having to worry about traditional software and network incompatibilities and other factors that have made migrations so complex in the past.
It integrates VMware’s compute, storage and network virtualisation tools (VMware vSphere, vSAN and NSX) and the VMware vCenter management plane to run on AWS infrastructure as part of the AWS Cloud. What this means is it lets you run your applications across a vSphere environment as normal, but now in a cloud-based environment - and it also gives you ready access to the broader services (analytics, backup, disaster recovery, etc) of AWS Cloud.
In short, it’s a fast and ideal migration pathway to start innovating with the AWS Cloud while still maintaining essential on-premise resources in a seamless hybrid environment managed in the same central control plane.