Amazon RDS on VMware Hybrid Cloud vSphere

Announcing the General Availability of Amazon RDS on VMware

The fully managed Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) is now available in VMware vSphere. RDS automates database provisioning, operating system and database patching, backups, point-in-time restore and compute scaling, as well as database instance health management. And now, you can bring all of these benefits to your VMware on-premises deployment. Let RDS automate time-consuming admin tasks like infrastructure provisioning, database setup, patching, and backups – so you can focus on your applications.


At VMworld 2018 in Las Vegas, Pat Gelsinger and Andy Jassy introduced Amazon RDS on VMware, offering the ability to run native RDS Database instances on a vSphere platform of choice while managed from the AWS Management Console in the cloud.

Over the past year, VMware and AWS engineers have diligently worked to bring this solution to market, and today we are thrilled to share that RDS on VMware is now available to customers running VMware vSphere 6.5 or later versions of our platform. This service represents one more example of VMware’s strategic commitment to empower our customers and partners to run any application anywhere they choose to do business across a consistent hybrid architecture. There’s no arguing that when it comes to private data center infrastructure, there is no more widely deployed technology than VMware vSphere. The numbers are in the hundreds of thousands. So when barriers such as integration, data sovereignty, or latency requirements preclude applications running on premises from benefiting from the cloud, why not just bring the cloud to them?

With today’s announcement, our customers get the best of all worlds. Software developers and database administrators get native access to the operationally battle-tested Amazon Relational Database Service using their familiar AWS Management Console, CLI, and RDS APIs. Operations teams can quickly stand up an RDS instance anywhere they run vSphere, and manage it using all of their existing tools and processes. Developers and operations teams equally get what they want, without compromise. And best of all, our customers can take advantage of cloud velocity without having to migrate entire stacks to cloud data centers. The use case and business requirements – not the technology choice – can ultimately dictate where a service should run.

What is Amazon RDS on VMware?

RDS on VMware automates database provisioning, operating system and database patching, backups, point-in-time restore and compute scaling, as well as database instance health management in VMware vSphere environments.

As vSphere Administrators would acknowledge, managing databases on vSphere or natively has been always a tedious exercise: provisioning databases, patching database engines and host operating systems, ensuring backups, restores, compliance, and scale to meet customer and business demands can be time-consuming, operationally risky, and undifferentiated heavy lifting that steals the focus of highly-skilled Database Administrators.

For the last 10 years, AWS customers have been reducing their operational risk and cost by building cloud-based applications on fully-managed RDS databases, allowing their DBAs to focus on value-added work like query optimization and database performance tuning.

With RDS on VMware, VMware and AWS are partnering to extend the benefits of VMware Cloud Foundation and Amazon RDS to VMware customers’ database workloads, enabling automation of backups, restore operations, simplified database management and performance tuning. VMware customers will now be able to expand the benefits of automation and standardization of their database workloads inside of vSphere and focus more of their time and energy on improving their applications for their customers.

What has been the VMware contribution?

VMware Database Management Essentials (VDME) is the VMware contribution and it includes all the IP that VMware implemented to enable RDS Database instances to run and be managed on vSphere-based infrastructure. VDME enables RDS on VMware to have seamless connectivity to vSphere clusters, and implement the low-intrusion security profile restricted to the vSphere Cluster.

Initial Capabilities

RDS on VMware initially supports PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and MySQL databases. Other DB support will be offered in the future.

Initially the service is supported in the AWS US East (Northern Virginia) region. Customers using Microsoft SQL Server must provide their own media and license (on-premises customer provided license). The service can automatically connect to the licensing servers existing on customer networks.

Lifecycle management of the database instances deployed through RDS on VMware are handled by the service.  One of the most interesting features of the solution is the Operating System and database engine patching with minimal downtime. Patching happens during a configurable maintenance window for database instances.  Updates and patches will require connectivity to the AWS cloud.

How to get started?

To get started, all you need is a vSphere 6.5 Enterprise Plus cluster (or newer) and outbound connectivity to the Internet, administrative privileges to the cluster and an AWS Account in good standing.

You can see the list of supported vSphere versions in the VMware Compatibility Matrix here and the corresponding Release Notes here.

After selecting the vSphere cluster all you have to do is to create a custom Availability Zone on the AWS RDS Console and download the Installer.

Once the RDS on VMware Installer has been deployed, the installer application can be started. The Installer validates if all the requirements on vSphere Cluster are met and it prepares the cluster to be fully onboarded as a custom Availability Zone. The installation takes approximately 40 minutes. Once the cluster is onboarded, is ready as a target for hosting RDS Instances.

Standard vSphere Constructs

The RDS instances generated are regular vSphere VMs that the vSphere Admin can see on the vCenter inventory. The vSphere Admin can decide how to assign infrastructure resources by leveraging well-known vSphere Resource Pools.

For the entire onboarding operation, the installer uses the vSphere Administrator Credentials only once to create a vSphere Solution User with extremely limited privileges on the vSphere infrastructure that will allow AWS the ability to manage the custom Availability Zone that has been created

Data Protection

RDS on VMware keeps all customer data on the managed database within the data center. Amazon RDS on VMware is inherently secure by design.

Technical Support

AWS will be the first contact for support, and AWS will work with VMware to provide support. The database instances deployed through RDS on VMware will be managed by AWS. All the other aspects of operating the vSphere cluster and the applications including the database applications will be the responsibility of the customer.

In order to make it simple for the customer, VMware and AWS jointly certify RDS on VMware on new vSphere versions in order to offer Day 0 support.

Cloud Without Boundaries

Amazon RDS on VMware gives you the ability to literally deploy RDS anywhere you do business, giving you the benefit of a proven cloud managed database-as-a-service offering that frees IT and database administrators to devote even more time to innovation. Developers benefit from being able to manage their databases using familiar AWS CLI and RDS APIs and IT operations can support RDS using proven VMware tools, policies, and associated processes that they have used for well over a decade. Allowing you to run Amazon RDS – a very popular public cloud service – on your VMware platforms is a major step forward in our strategy to provide our customers and partners with the freedom to allow business requirements to dictate where anything runs. If you think this is exciting, stay tuned. There is much more to come.


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