VMware Cloud on AWS

What is VMware?

VMware is a market leader in data center virtualization which allows for standard compute, storage, and networking infrastructure to be virtualized and delivered as a service. This is known as a Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) where the deployment, configuration, and provisioning and operation of these data center components are implemented through software.

What is VMware Cloud on AWS?

VMware Cloud on AWS was introduced as an out-of-the-box service that allows you to spin up a VMware SDDC within the AWS cloud. Now, the features and functionality that customers are comfortable within their on-premises infrastructure to consume VMware Cloud are available across Megaport’s global Software Defined Network (SDN) with a cost-effective pay-as-you-need model, using AWS.

Here are a few key terms and acronyms to understand:

  • vCenter
    • The product name for the VMware data center management server application which provides the centralized management and operations for virtual machines (VMs) and hosts.
  • vSphere
    • The product name for the VMware server virtualization platform. This is the client that is used to access vCenter.
  • NSX
    • The product name for the VMware virtual networking and security functions in its SDDC.
  • vSAN
    • The product name for the VMware virtual storage functions in its SDDC.
  • ESXi
    • The VMware hypervisor used to deploy virtual computers in its SDDC.
  • Direct Connect
    • The product name for the AWS Layer 2 connectivity service that allows for a connection between an office, data center, or colocation environment to AWS.
  • VXC
    • Virtual Cross Connect (VXC) is the Megaport product name for a Layer 2 VLAN.


What are the benefits for an enterprise using VMware Cloud?

VMware Cloud on AWS enables customers with a multitude of benefits including the ability to take a slow and low-risk approach to cloud adoption. Existing on-premises infrastructure can be augmented with cloud resources for growth purposes. This solution curbs the need for new capital expenditures on equipment while providing the ability to grow and/or reduce workloads in the cloud. It also allows you to take full advantage of your existing equipment and infrastructure while it’s still in a productive and usable state if you were contemplating an eventual full migration to the cloud.

AWS has segmented portions of their physical data center spaces in order to accommodate the VMware infrastructure. VMware software is implemented directly on AWS bare metal. Support and management functions, such as patching and upgrades to the software, are performed by VMware personnel while management of the physical devices is handled by AWS staff. You are then in control of your VMs and you have delegated access to vSphere.

A full list of features and benefits can be found here.   

What does the architecture look like?

AWS has simplified the connectivity model using AWS Direct Connect to reach VMware Cloud.

Using Megaport as your Network as a Service provider, you can seamlessly deploy Virtual Interfaces (VIF) to AWS Direct Connect for VMware consumption, from their on-premise Data Center infrastructure.

Below showcases the components associated with a customer’s on-premises environment connecting to a Megaport to reach VMware Cloud on AWS along with the available AWS Cloud services.

You will not have root or SSH access to vSphere. Also, 3rd party VIBs or Plugins cannot be installed. Check with your VMware representative if any of these are required for your solution.

When networking functions are provided by the NSX-T, management traffic, cold migration and hot migration (using vMotion) traffic, and compute gateway traffic can all be transported across Direct Connect. This is an upgrade from the previous version of NSX that did not support all traffic types. It should be noted that NSX-T is not a requirement in the on-premises infrastructure in order for this solution to work. An NSX standalone client can be downloaded into the on-premises environment for operational use.

Please note that when deploying vMotion between a VMkernel source and destination, a minimum bandwidth of 250Mbps is required with a maximum round trip latency of 150ms. Click here for more information.

Infrastructure details are subject to AWS announcement changes for compute, storage, hypervisor, and technology features. You should check with your VMware account team for releases and/or updates. This source can also be referenced.

How do I configure?

Getting started begins at my.vmware.com.

You can register for an account or sign in to your existing account. If you are registering for a new account, you will need to provide standard information including your name, address, password, email address, and company name, if applicable.

A new account will be created in less than a minute. From here, you will need to create a new SDDC with information such as the AWS account to be used, management network IPs to be used for the setup (it should be noted that once the IP blocks have been submitted they cannot be changed/updated), number of hosts (minimum of four required for original setup to a maximum of 32 per cluster. You can have 10 clusters per SDDC), and the AWS Region where the solution is to be implemented along with the Availability Zones to be used.

The VMware account will be linked to the AWS account. Preconfigured Cloudformation templates for configuration can help in the initial setup of the solution. The initial environment will take up to two hours to spin up and provision while subsequent additions, deletions, and changes to hosts can happen in a matter of minutes. For more information on the initial setup process, click here and to see a walk-through video click here.

How to use Megaport to integrate with this solution?

You can implement a Direct Connect Layer 2 connection to link between your on-premises or co-location based infrastructure and your VMware Cloud on an AWS instance using Megaport.

If you are already a Megaport customer with a Port established, you would simply be adding a new VXC through your Megaport account to the VMware Cloud on AWS instance that you would have created in the initial setup process outlined previously. You would be using the same AWS account ID that you used in the setup process. You could also establish a new Port if you wanted to physically separate this solution from your other existing traffic traversing your Megaport Ports or simply required this Port in a different location from your existing.  

If you are not a current Megaport customer, you can establish a 1 Gbps or 10 Gbps connection into one of our Points of Presence (PoPs) around the globe. Our PoP list can be found here.

If you’re currently not in one of these PoP locations, the last mile circuit can be procured to one of the PoP sites in order to achieve connectivity to Megaport. Contact Megaport by clicking here if you require help with or information on procuring a last mile circuit to one of our PoP locations.

Once a Megaport Port has been established, a VXC can be implemented to a private VIF in the VMware Cloud SDDC instance in AWS. It utilizes private IP space and the VXC will terminate directly to your AWS VPC and only the VPC CIDR blocks are advertised back to your on-premises infrastructure. Additionally, the private VIF will terminate on a virtual gateway (VGW) in the VPC which is transparent to users.

Customers can create a Hosted Private VIF from their account and enter the VMware Cloud on AWS account number for the VIF. This account number can be obtained from the VMware Cloud on AWS console, under the Direct Connect > VMC AWS Account, as shown in Figure 2.

Customers can advertise their on-premises networks to the SDDC as well. This allows a simplified full connectivity option for customers while taking advantage of the 1 G or 10 G bandwidth connections form Direct Connect.

You can see the routes advertised from the VMware Cloud SDDC to your on-premises from the Advertised BGP Routes section on the console, and the routes received from their on-premises on the Learned BGP Routes section, as shown in Figure 3. The maximum number of logical network routes that can be advertised from the VMware Cloud SDDC to on-premises is 16 and can be increased by VMware upon evaluation.

Redundancy for the connectivity portion of for this overall solution can be achieved by establishing additional VXCs to to the AWS environment. If the VXCs are implemented on separate Ports, additional physical redundancy can be achieved. It should be noted that an internet VPN can also be established for redundancy purposes.

Where is VMware Cloud available?

VMware Cloud on AWS is currently available in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (N. California), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (Ireland), Europe (London), and AWS GovCloud (US). Additional regions are pending. Check the AWS website here for updated information.

For further information, see these additional useful links:





VMware Cloud Best Practice & Deep Dive Content

Using AWS Direct Connect with VMware Cloud on AWS

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