Using the Cloud…Whilst Maximising Your Datacentre Investment

Cloud is very much the buzzword on everyone’s lips in IT these days. Businesses are upping the pace with which they migrate applications onto the platforms of various public cloud providers – most notably, AWS and Microsoft Azure. AWS are miles out in front at the moment, with approximately 65% market share, but Azure, according to Microsoft, take up now seems to be growing at a faster rate than their main rival. If you read this site regularly, you’ll have seen my last blog in April sounding a cautionary note to beware of vendor license rules before you migrate your software to public cloud.

If you’re a technology geek, like me, you’ll have seen VMware and Microsoft finally unveiling their partnership a few weeks ago, after an 18-month hiatus where it was on and then off again. This follows on from VMware firmly embedding itself into AWS. But what, actually, is the point of these partnerships, you ask? Hybrid cloud it is. For the uninitiated, hybrid cloud is when you use one or more cloud platforms together with on-premise servers in a unified technology platform. What hybrid cloud allows you to do is maintain on-premise business applications that may be mission critical or require enhanced levels of data security, whilst making use of some of the benefits of cloud platforms, like scalability, rapid deployment and offsite disaster recovery.

Modern Software Asset Management cloud subscriptions

So where does VMware come into the equation? If you are a legacy vSphere user, and you have made a significant investment in the vendor’s product sets (perhaps through an ELA), it would be only natural to want to maximise their use. VMware on AWS and Azure allow you to do just that. You can continue to use your VMware licensing for the on-premise component of the business application you want to migrate to hybrid cloud. All of the license rules remain the same because it is still on-premise, even though the application hosted by the virtual servers in question may be configured to work with a public cloud platform. The difference is what happens when a virtual machine (VM) or workload is migrated to the AWS or Azure platform.

Firstly, let’s be very clear about one thing, to avoid any confusion; VMware on AWS and Azure are NOT public cloud platforms. The hosting technology you use when you deploy to them is dedicated only to your business, which makes them, technically at least, private cloud. The second thing to be clear about is that you cannot migrate your on-premise VMware licenses to the cloud side of the hosting platform. For example, you cannot license the AWS hosting technology with your on-premise vSphere licenses. The billing for the cloud hosts is calculated in a similar fashion to that for virtual machines on the standard AWS and Azure public cloud offerings – you pay for what you use. The major difference is that you are paying per host server socket CPU per hour, rather than for the time your VMs are active.

In summary, then, what are the benefits of this approach? Aside from those outlined above, there is another major plus point – the ability to deploy other vendor software to VMs on the cloud side of the platform without having to comply with the license rules that would apply to a public cloud scenario. As I said in my previous post, many vendors have special rules for deploying their software to public cloud, notably IBM, Oracle and Microsoft. By using VMware on AWS or Azure you negate these rules. Hybrid is one of the quickest routes to taking advantage of cloud benefits, whilst not falling foul of changes in licensing and maintaining the stability of your business applications. And it doesn’t force you to write off legacy investment.

July, 2019