Cloud // Infrastructure as a Service
News
6/3/2014
12:00 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

Amazon Opens On-Ramp For VMware Workloads

Amazon Web Services makes a bid for VMware-based workloads by giving vCenter virtual machine admins a direct link to its EC2 cloud.

6 Models Of The Modern Data Center
6 Models Of The Modern Data Center
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

It's well known that VMware wants to get into public cloud computing. What's less widely recognized is that Amazon Web Services wants to get inside the enterprise virtualization management console -- VMware's, to be exact.

To become part of VMware's proprietary vCenter management console, Amazon has created a portal, the AWS Management Portal for vCenter, that a virtualization administrator sets up to connect to the Amazon cloud. The administrator will use the portal to create AWS accounts, assign trust relationships between the management portal and the Active Directory Federation Services or other identity management system, and then deploy and configure an Amazon-provided connector between the portal and AWS EC2 infrastructure.

Amazon announced AWS Connector for vCenter in a blog post May 30 by Jeff Barr, its chief cloud evangelist. "If you are already using VMware vCenter to manage your virtualized environment, you will be comfortable in this new environment right away, even if you are new to AWS, starting with the integrated sign-on process," Barr wrote.

An existing ESX Server, normally incompatible with the Xen-based Amazon cloud, can be imported and activated as an Amazon Machine Image, the type of virtual machine that is native to EC2.

[Learn more about IaaS market leaders. See Amazon, Microsoft Star In Gartner Cloud Magic Quadrant.]

"The look-and-feel and the workflow that you use to create new AWS resources will be familiar and you will be launching EC2 instances before too long," said Barr. "You can even import your existing 'golden' VMware images to EC2 through the portal."

The connector adds to an existing tool for moving VMware virtual machines into Amazon EC2, VM Import, but makes that tool functional inside the vCenter Console. Virtual machine administrators no longer have to work outside their familiar environments, if they wish to use Amazon infrastructure. They can designate an Amazon region, such as US East in Ashburne, Va., and an Availability Zone within US East that they wish to use, then export the workload to the cloud center.

AWS gives vCenter virtual machine admins a direct link to its EC2 cloud.(Image: Amazon Web Services)
AWS gives vCenter virtual machine admins a direct link to its EC2 cloud.
(Image: Amazon Web Services)

Forbes.com blogger Ben Kepes said Barr's comment was "a seemingly innocuous statement that no doubt has the blood boiling within VMware. Remember that VMware has only recently unveiled its vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS), a solution designed to deliver pretty much exactly this functionality, albeit out to VMware's own public cloud."

A vCenter management console manages thousands of virtual machines at a time, so the AWS connector opens the door to a broad array of migration candidates. The process may also be reversed, with an Amazon Machine Image converted back into a virtual machine file that will be compatible with VMware's vSphere environment and sent back to the enterprise from which it was migrated in the first place.

In his blog post, Barr made his case explicit: Use the AWS Connector for vCenter to establish your own pattern of hybrid cloud computing (no need to turn to the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service). He wrote: "I believe that IT Managers will find this blend of centralized control and cloud power to be a potent mix. VCenter Administrators can exercise full control over hybrid IT environments (both on-premises and EC2 instances) using a single user interface."

The increasingly direct competition has already been acknowledged by VMware, which in March hired away a key Amazon executive, Simone Brunozzi, to head its vCloud Hybrid Service. If Amazon dominates public infrastructure-as-a-service, with five times the server capacity of its next 14 competitors, VMware likewise dominates virtualization in the data center. If the virtual machine administrator in the enterprise data center is a strong candidate to become the manager of virtualized workloads in the cloud, Amazon is now seeking to directly enable him or her, rather than expecting an Amazon-only manager will emerge inside the enterprise.

VMware made its first appearance in the Gartner Magic Quadrant as a supplier of public cloud infrastructure, but in the Niche quadrant, where Virtustream, Dimension Data, HP, Joyent, and Fujitsu also dwell.

Private clouds are moving rapidly from concept to production. But some fears about expertise and integration still linger. Also in the Private Clouds Step Up issue of InformationWeek: The public cloud and the steam engine have more in common than you might think. (Free registration required.)

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek, having joined the publication in 2003. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
christhegator
50%
50%
christhegator,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/8/2014 | 6:39:09 PM
Getting closer to the promised land
I think the promise of the cloud (public and private) has always been the ability to deploy workloads in the best environment possible. Deploying a workload to get the right performance, availability and cost for that particular workload. Not all workloads are created equal nor do all workloads need the same performance and availability. Just as not all workloads are created equal neither are all cloud environments (for example a private cloud supported by VMware in your local data center vs a public cloud provider such as AWS). 

So that is why I find this announcement so exciting. We are getting closer to the world where someone can move a workload effortlessly between cloud environments. While Chris @ VMware makes sme excellent points in his blog article I think he misses a a few key pieces. 

Rather outline my thoughts in a long comment  I'll leave a link to another blog article that I think touches on my thoughts, presents a reasonable take on the AWS Management Portal on vCenter, and adds a few extra ideas that should be considered.

http://blog.sciencelogic.com/tie-the-knot-between-vcenter-and-aws/06/2014
SaneIT
50%
50%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/6/2014 | 7:21:40 AM
Re: I'm curious
Right, I don't see VMWare dying but if they lose enough customers it is going to slow down development.  We waited a long time for VM hypervisors and management tools to be good enough that they could be considered enterprise ready.  I just hate to see jabs like this take the steam out of their sails.   I'm quite happy with VMWare and I get calls from Microsoft regularly letting me know how much better HyperV has become.  That kind of competition drives innovation but it doesn't seem like VMWare sees Amazon in the same competitive light, it looks a little more like sniping customers without competing directly.
Drew Conry-Murray
50%
50%
Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
6/5/2014 | 5:03:00 PM
Re: I'm curious
I think your fear is justified. It's typical of incumbents to armor up. I don't think it will necessarily drive VMware out of business, though. They've achieved Cisco-like market share in the enterprise, along with all things that make incumbents sticky (running business-critical production apps, certifications for admins, lots of third-party integrations, etc.)

That said, if Amazon ever decides it wants a bigger piece of the enterprise market, it could start selling its own hypervisor as licensed software. It doesn't have to kill VMware, but it could make a serious dent, especially if it rolled it out as a hybrid-ready option, and focused on features like cloud-based BC/DR.
SaneIT
50%
50%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/5/2014 | 7:39:16 AM
Re: I'm curious
I hope VMWare sees it this way.  My biggest fear with them is that they will tighten down out of fear.  There have been a few tech companies who did this and died.  Other hypervisors are out there and looking better with every release so if VMWare decides to back themselves into a corner they are going to lose market share quickly.
John Lauro
50%
50%
John Lauro,
User Rank: Guru
6/4/2014 | 9:49:14 PM
Instance mismatch
How does it handle instance mismatch?  For example if you have one instances of a 32GB VM with 1 CPU and another with 4GB VM with 8 CPU you want to migrate? 
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
6/4/2014 | 5:18:21 PM
Hybrid cloud,, however you like it
Some customers will want the hybrid cloud as engineered by VMware. Others would be happy to see an outcome like the one pictured by Drew, even if Amazon is a mere "seller of books," as VMware's Carl Eschenbach once described it.
Drew Conry-Murray
50%
50%
Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
6/4/2014 | 1:51:08 PM
Re: I'm curious
I'll bet VMware isn't thrilled about this because I'm sure they'd prefer to control the customer on the private and hybrid side. But I think VMware should run with this. Instead of investing resources trying to bottle up customers, make a solution that's really easy to use with third-party public clouds and I bet you'll end up with more, and happier, VMware folks too.
SaneIT
50%
50%
SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
6/4/2014 | 7:38:03 AM
I'm curious
If I'm reading this right then I'm very interested in seeing how this might work and will be doing some research.  If I could push my private VMWare virtual machines out to Amazon as part of my DM strategy this might be an incredible win.  We are a hybrid cloud shop so I don't see our VMWare base going away but I do see using Amazon as a way to boost up time as being incredibly valuable.  As we grow I have been looking at shifting resources around our various locations to remove some choke points during a failure but depending on how transparent shuttling the images out to Amazon is this might be a solution to consider.
Charlie Babcock
50%
50%
Charlie Babcock,
User Rank: Author
6/3/2014 | 3:10:09 PM
Connecting from inside vCenter
The Amazon Connect portal appears as a tab in the vCenter management console and can be activated from there, I believe. Has anyone already used it?
Multicloud Infrastructure & Application Management
Multicloud Infrastructure & Application Management
Enterprise cloud adoption has evolved to the point where hybrid public/private cloud designs and use of multiple providers is common. Who among us has mastered provisioning resources in different clouds; allocating the right resources to each application; assigning applications to the "best" cloud provider based on performance or reliability requirements.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 23, 2014
Intrigued by the concept of a converged infrastructure but worry you lack the expertise to DIY? Dell, HP, IBM, VMware, and other vendors want to help.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.