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VMware Cloud on AWS – 2-Host Cluster Capability now in Preview!

The new 2-host cluster capability for VMware Cloud on AWS is released in preview for all commercial AWS regions. In this article, we go through how IT teams can use this capability to prove the value of moving to VMware Cloud on AWS.

The new 2-host cluster capability for VMware Cloud on AWS is now released in Preview with the Amazon EC2 i3.metal instance type.  This is a fantastic way for customers, partners, and managed service providers (MSPs) to get started on their VMware Cloud on AWS journey, either by utilizing it to prove the value of VMware Cloud on AWS or to reduce cost of getting started with a persistent offering vis-a-vis our 3+ host production offerings.

VMware Cloud on AWS has previously offered a Single Host SDDC offering for proof of concept and development and test (dev/test) workloads, and a 3+ host Full Production SDDC clusters for work that is business critical. With the ability to spin up a 2-host cluster, customers can get started with persistent VMware Cloud on AWS environments at up to 33% lower cost of entry than a full production 3-host offering. In its current Preview form, this capability can fulfill the needs of proof of concepts and dev/test environments that need longer than the 30 days the Single Host SDDC supports. 2-host cluster supports a range of enterprise workloads such as ROBO, Disaster Recovery Pilot Light, and VDI. The support for lower entry price for VDI workloads is especially critical as part of business continuity solutions.

Regarding storage policies, the 2-host cluster features RAID-1 and FTT 1 functionality by default.  This is the smallest cluster we offer with FTT and RAID policies. EDRS is supported in the default “Storage” setting, which enables a host to be added automatically should the storage of the cluster exceed 75% capacity.  Should you wish, you can also easily scale up from 2-hosts to 3 utilizing the same ‘add host’ functionality you are utilizing today.

The 2-host cluster is offered in Preview in all commercial global AWS Regions where VMware Cloud on AWS is available today for the Amazon EC2 i3.metal instance type, except in the AWS GovCloud (US-West). It also receives the same 24/7 support, in addition to the same 24/5 global chat support that is integrated into the service itself.

As we are releasing this capability in “Preview”, it comes with some differences compared to an “Available” capability – the most important one being  that the 2-host cluster capability does not have an SLA, which is currently supported for 3+ host clusters.

To create a 2-host cluster, users simply need to utilize the current SDDC functionality in the VMware Cloud on AWS Console, or leverage the same APIs/automated functionality as they do today. They will see the 2-host cluster once they choose a “Multi-Host” Deployment in the SDDC Properties part of the process. Do note that the 2-host cluster can only be created on i3.metal host types at this time.

The remainder of the SDDC creation process is the same. As you can see, the 2-host cluster is as easy to create and manage as any other SDDC, while offering FTT-1 and RAID-1 at a low cost.

If a user wishes to add a 2-host cluster to an existing SDDC, they may do so if the SDDC version is 1.10v2.  The 2-host cluster capability is not supported in any SDDC versions lower than 1.10v2.  All new SDDCs provisioned moving forward, regardless of number of hosts and/or clusters, will be created using version 1.10v2 or newer and can support 2-host clusters. Please note that only one 2-host cluster per SDDC may be provisioned at this time.

Of course, the 2-host cluster supports all the same aspects of SDDC and cluster management as larger cluster sizes, including automation resources such as the Developer Center, Developer Tools including APIs and SDKs, and Automation Tools such as PowerCLI and Infrastructure as Code.  A deep dive into these capabilities can be found here.

Customers can use the VMC Sizer tool to plan out how to best utilize the 2-host cluster.  As the cluster is RAID-1 by default, it will have usable storage similar to a Single Host SDDC upon provisioning. While the 2-host cluster does not have an SLA, upon provisioning, a managed storage policy profile is created, and scaling up to 4-hosts will enable RAID-5 and 6-hosts RAID-6.  To move from an FTT of 1 to 2, one needs to scale up from 2-hosts to 5.  Greater detail on those policies for our full Production clusters sizes can be found in our documentation here.

Lastly, the 2-host cluster capability has some additional limitations while in Preview. They are the following:

  1. Scale down from 3 to 2-hosts is not currently possible.
  2. Elastic DRS Policies are limited to the Default Storage Scale-Out Policy

We’re incredibly excited about this release.  This cluster size is a great starting point for many and allows customers to scale up to a full Production 3+ host cluster whenever they wish, along with featuring EDRS support, RAID-1, and FTT=1 in a similar fashion to larger sized clusters.

For any further questions, please check out the FAQs on VMware Cloud on AWS website

Here are some Resources to learn more about VMware Cloud on AWS:


Disclaimer – Feature(s) released in preview are intended to gather feedback and may not be available to all applicable customers or in all AWS regions. The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into any contract. There is no commitment or obligation that items in ‘Preview’, ‘’Developing’, and ‘Planning’, will become ‘Available’.