We are back at VMware Explore (US) 2022 happening in-person in San Francisco. And today, with 5-year anniversary of VMware Cloud on AWS, I am super excited to share with you lot of new announcements related to VMware Cloud on AWS.
As you all know, for around 5 years, VMware Cloud on AWS has been helping customers accelerate their cloud transformation journey in a fast yet cost-effective manner. Customers have been using this hybrid cloud service for variety of use cases such as data center evacuation, extension of their data center from on-premises to cloud for burst capacity needs or dev/test workload migration as well as for Disaster Recovery in the cloud. Check out this latest blog to learn more about how customers are using VMware Cloud on AWS and what is the impact they are seeing. Also check out this blog to learn more about some of the key announcements for VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud(US).
Now, let’s dive deep into some of the key features and capabilities we are announcing in VMware’s Q3 FY23:
Enhancements in compute and storage:
Enhancements in compute:
- The Amazon EC2 I4i.metal instance: Announcing availability of a new Amazon EC2 instance that is powered by 3rd generation Intel® Xeon® Ice Lake processor and offers more compute, memory, local storage, and networking speed. Compared to its previous generation, it delivers superior value in migrating and operating both memory-bound and general-purpose workloads. It offers:
- More storage: 30TiB of raw local NVMe flash storage (~2 times compared to i3.metal)
- More processing power: 128 vCPUs (~2 times compared to i3.metal)
- More memory: 1,024 GiB (~2 times compared to i3.metal)
- More networking speed: up to 75 Gbps (~3 times as compared to i3.metal)
- Host to host encryption by default
This instance type can be used for general purpose workloads, database workloads like transactional databases(MySQL, Oracle DB, and Microsoft SQL Server), NoSQL databases(MongoDB, Couchbase, Aerospike, Redis), VDI workloads, Mission/Business critical workloads* and Real time applications* etc.(*Based on future capabilities)
Learn more about i4i.metal instance type in this blog
- vSphere 8.0: With VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC version 1.20+, all SDDCs will be deployed with vSphere 8.0 version which will have a new look and feel for vSphere client along with some new features.
Enhancements in storage:
- Integration with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP: Announcing availability of integration with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP – a jointly engineered, AWS managed external NFS datastore built on NetApp’s ONTAP file system that can be attached to VMware Cloud on AWS vSphere cluster. For customers requiring high storage capacity for their workloads (e.g. Big Data, data warehousing, and VDI workloads), it provides flexible, high-performance virtualized storage infrastructure that scales independently of compute resources. For agile data management, this integration provides NetApp ONTAP’s data management capabilities, like space efficient snapshots, cloning and replication. This service provides the consistent operational experience and same features, performance, and administrative capabilities that hundreds of thousands of NetApp customers use on-premises, with the simplicity, agility, security, and scalability of the cloud. Learn more
- VMware Cloud Flex Storage: Announcing availability of VMware Cloud Flex Storage- a scalable, elastic, and natively integrated storage service for VMware Cloud on AWS that is fully managed by VMware and delivered with predictable cloud economics. Customers can scale storage without adding hosts, simplify operations with a solution that is easy to buy, use and manage, and benefit from a straightforward pay-as-you-go consumption model. Some of the key benefits of this service are:
- Increased scalability and elasticity: Achieve greater flexibility by scaling storage capacity up or down as needed without adding hosts.
- Simplified operations: Simplify operations with a consistent, natively integrated VMware experience.
- Reduced costs: Benefit from cloud economics by paying for only the resources you consume.
You can learn more about VMware Cloud Flex Storage in this blog
Enhancements in sizing, pricing and subscription options:
- VMware Cloud Flex Compute: Announcing “Preview” of a new cloud compute model that will help customers get started faster with VMware Cloud on AWS- VMware Cloud Flex Compute. With this new model, we are introducing a “resource-defined” cloud compute model in place of “hardware-defined” compute instance model which will provide customers higher flexibility, elasticity, and speed to better meet cost and performance requirements of enterprise applications. It will help customers get started faster with VMware Cloud on AWS by using smaller consumable units.
As part of this new model, customers will get the same speed, agility, built-in elasticity, and enterprise grade capabilities of VMware Cloud on AWS, but in smaller consumable units called as flex compute units. Each unit will be comprised of compute, memory, network and storage resources. With on-demand scalability, customers will be able to start small and scale later as needed. Customers will be able to better meet the cost and performance requirements of enterprise applications by using smaller units containing vCPU, memory, storage, and network resources and adjusting as their capacity requirements change versus adding/removing full hosts. Customers will also have flexibility to purchase flex compute units with different configurations to cater the needs of different types of workloads. With faster provisioning and low cost of entry, customers will be able to start running workloads in minutes using environments that are 97% smaller than the minimum required to support production workloads today. Learn more
- Further extension of VMware Cloud on AWS Promotions: Due to customer demand, VMware Cloud on AWS pricing promotions are extended further. Also, VMware Cloud on AWS hosts purchased through VMware Cloud Universal Program are eligible for the 2 promotions currently going on for VMware Cloud on AWS host purchase:
- 15% List Price reduction on i3.metal hosts runs through Oct 31, 2022.
- Low cost starter pricing for 2 &3 i3.metal/i3en.metal hosts: This promotion runs through Feb 1, 2023. We plan to offer this promotion to i4i.metal host as well when it becomes available.
Please check out this blog to learn more about these promotions.
Enhancements in networking:
- Project Northstar: Announcing “Preview” of Networking SaaS offering that will bring to NSX customers a set of on-demand hybrid and multi-cloud networking and security services, end-to-end visibility, and controls. Customers will be able to use a centralized cloud-console to instantly access networking and security services such as Network Policy, Network Detection and Response, NSX Intelligence, web application security including WAF, HCX, etc. across on-premises and VMware Cloud deployments. Learn more
- VMware Transit Connect provides Managed Prefix Lists: With this enhancement, customers will be able to create a Custom Prefix List populated with SDDC Group subnets and share this Prefix List to the customer’s AWS account so that it can be referenced at the appropriate VPC/ Transit Gateway route table. The Prefix List must be maintained and consumed on per region basis. Whenever SDDC Group membership or subnets change, Prefix List will be updated so that the changes can be applied automatically on the customer side. Thus, it removes the customer burden of manual configuration/mapping of routes to respective AWS VPC/Transit Gateway to direct traffic to SDDC Group. With automated route propagation to AWS VPC/Transit Gateway this functionality simplifies the networking experience for VMware Cloud on AWS customers.
- IPv6 support for workload communication within the SDDC: Announcing Preview of IPv6 Support for new VMware Cloud on AWS customers. With this capability, IPv6 addresses will be supported for East-West connectivity in VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs. Some of the key features of this capability are:
- IPv6 is enabled on logical segments attached to Custom Tier-1 Gateways only.
- Supports distributed routing for IPv6 traffic.
- Supports DFW for IPv6 traffic (including Layer7 App-ID if NSX Advanced Firewall add-on is enabled).
- Supports configuration of custom IPv6 ND/DAD profiles on Custom Tier-1 Gateways.
- Pre-creates additional segment profiles for IP Discovery and Switch Security profiles where IPv6 options are enabled.
Enhancements in availability and resiliency:
- Ransomware Recovery for VMware Cloud DR: Announcing a purpose-built ransomware recovery-as-a-service solution to help organizations recover from ransomware attacks with confidence and agility, featuring an automated ransomware recovery workflow and intrinsic security through embedded scanning of recovery points. VMware Ransomware Recovery builds upon the rich set of ransomware recovery capabilities already available in VMware Cloud DR, including Instant Power On of VMs, a deep history of immutable snapshot copies, a secure, air-gapped Scale Out Cloud Filesystem and File and Folder level recovery. VMware Ransomware Recovery addresses the top challenges organizations face when attempting to recover from ransomware attacks, allowing them to quickly identify recovery point candidates, validate those recovery points through rapid iterations and minimize data loss in the process. Learn more
- Enhancements to VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery: As a recap, VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery offers on-demand disaster recovery to IT administrators responsible for IT infrastructure and services resiliency, delivered as an easy-to-use SaaS solution with cloud economics. New enhancements include:
- Integration with vSphere+: VMware Cloud DR will be offered as a cloud add-on service for vSphere+ customers. They will have direct integration to VMware Cloud DR from the VMware Cloud Console to protect their workloads from ransomware and other disasters.
- 2Tier Commitment Based Contracts (CBC) for VMware Cloud DR: With this new commerce motion, distributors will receive the opportunity to enable a significant volume discount for a specific reseller/end customer combination and make payments monthly on their upfront commitment by signing a Commitment Based Contract (CBC) with VMware and committing to spend a certain amount of money on behalf of the reseller/end customer combination over a specific period. The distributor will be charged monthly by VMware based on the associated customer’s consumption of VMware Cloud DR (assuming that the customer fulfills the 1-year/3-year commitment as agreed on in the contract between VMware and the distributor).
- Seller mobility: When there are no active VMware Cloud DR subscriptions in the AWS region, customers will have the ability to choose and update their seller of record in the Global DR console and create new subscription under that seller of record, thus providing them flexibility in terms of updating the seller of record as per their needs.
- Term commitments: VMware Cloud DR can now be purchased as 1/3-year subscriptions based on per-VM pricing.
- Enhancements to VMware Site Recovery: VMware Site Recovery™ for VMware Cloud on AWS simplifies traditional disaster recovery and delivers a high-performance service. New enhancements in VMware Site Recovery 8.6 include:
- Health check report: The Health Check report provides visibility into the overall health of the DR environment so issues may be remediated to maintain your DR posture. The API initiated report provides insights into DR critical replication, DR site, datastore configuration and mapping issues.
- Protect 4000 VMs per SDDC: Previously, with VMware Site Recovery, customers were able to protect environments with up to 3000 VMs per SDDC. With this enhancement, customers will be able to protect larger environments by replicating up to 4000 VMs in single protected SDDC thus helping customers reduce the complexity and costs of their DR environment in the cloud.
- In-product Feedback: VMware Site Recovery user interface will now add an in-product feedback option that will enable customers to provide real-time ratings and comments on key workflows and features.
- Support for REST APIs: VMware Site Recovery will add additional REST APIs to monitor DR operations, set up protection and recover your workloads and automate the capabilities to configure and manage DR at scale.
- Cross-cloud DR: VMware Site Recovery Manager on Azure VMware Solution paired with VMware Site Recovery on VMware Cloud on AWS: As one of our efforts to support customers’ multi-cloud adoption strategies, we are introducing “Preview” of bi-directional cross-cloud DR between VMware Cloud on AWS and Azure VMware Solution. Customers can conduct cross-cloud DR operations leveraging the capabilities of VMware Site Recovery Manager (version 8.5+) running on Azure VMware Solution and VMware Site Recovery running on VMware Cloud on AWS as a failover target or source site.
Please note: The source site and target site are configured in Active-Active configuration where both sites can host the workloads and protect workloads between both sites. Some of the key benefits of this cross-cloud DR functionality are:
- Improved reliability: With Active-Active configuration between source and target site, customers get low overall RPO/RTO for protected workloads
- Reduced operational complexity: Unified cross-cloud DR operations under one umbrella eliminates DR risk and complexity
- Better resiliency: With sparse regional coverage provided by different cloud providers, cross cloud DR minimizes the risk of potential infrastructure outages.
- Better data sovereignty and compliance: Due to data sovereignty and compliance reasons, if customers do not want to move data to a DR site in another geographical location and if the cloud provider has only region in that geography, customers can use cross-cloud DR to keep DR replicas in a DR site(in same geography) provided by another cloud provider
Enhancements in customer experience:
- Conditionally waive pre-charge when purchasing VMware Cloud on AWS hosts using credit card: Previously, when a customer purchased VMware Cloud on AWS hosts online using a credit card, they were charged with $2,000* USD (or equivalent non-USD currency) upon their first deployment as a nonrefundable pre-paid credit (“Prepaid Credit”) which gets applied to their hourly or annual subscription within 60 days. With this enhancement, this Prepaid Credit is waived at VMware’s discretion based on the customer’s current level of engagement with VMware.
- VMware Cloud Launchpad enhancements: With the next release of VMware Cloud Launchpad (Version 2.0), we are bringing a bunch of new enhancements to provide better experience to our customers:
- Fully responsive, mobile friendly User Interface: Now, VMware Cloud Launchpad UI is fully adaptive to mobile devices thus providing customers additional convenience as they will be able to browse through the services of the launchpad from their smartphones as well as tablets.
- Availability of more solutions and services: VMware Cloud Launchpad now have more infrastructure solutions and services available in the portal.
- With the addition of vSphere+ and vSAN+ solution under ‘Infrastructure’ category, customer can get started with these solutions by following step by step instructions mentioned in the journey map.
- With the addition of tools- vCenter Cloud Gateway and Power CLI under the ‘Tools’ category, customer will be able to explore the capabilities of ‘vCenter Cloud Gateway’ to deploy this virtual appliance in their on-premises infrastructure or explore Power CLI to automate their IT infrastructure.
- With the introduction of new category as ‘Integrated Services’, customers will be able to explore and get started with deploying different add-on solutions that run on top of VMware Cloud such as VMware HCX, VMware Advanced Firewall, vRealize Automation Cloud, vRealize Operations Cloud etc.
- Self-service maintenance scheduling: With this enhancement, customers will be able to schedule Self-Service Maintenance rollout after VMware publishes it with start and end date. Once Self-Service Maintenance Rollout is published, VMware Cloud on AWS customer will be able to see it under the Maintenance Overview Tab listed under the rollout list on VMware Cloud Console. The Self-Service Maintenance Rollout contains minor updates and patches that have small risk to business, and minimal or no downtime. This includes activities such as:
- SDDC certificate replacements
- AZ failovers for stretched clusters
- VCSA service restarts
- Minor patches for SDDC
Customers will be able to select the rollout having the Self-Service patches, one or more eligible SDDCs, or clusters to which this rollout will be applied to, date and time for each phase of the rollout etc. and click on the “Self-Schedule” Button to start the SDDC maintenance on the scheduled date. If customers won’t be able to finish the maintenance of eligible SDDCs within the defined timeframe, VMware will provide the default scheduling and SDDCs will be patched. This capability provides customers additional flexibility to schedule and self-serve the SDDC maintenance as per their business priorities.
- Customer feedback submission for upgrades: For VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware keeps publishing the maintenance rollouts and executes the SDDC upgrades on customer’s behalf. With this feature, customers will be able to submit their feedback about their upgrade experience after each rollout maintenance gets completed.
Enhancements to commerce experience and partner selling motions:
VMware and AWS are constantly looking at ways to improve the experience of our joint customers. One key aspect of this is the commerce experience for customers and partners that are purchasing the VMware Cloud on AWS service. New enhancements in this area include:
- 2Tier Commitment Based Contracts (CBC): We are introducing a new commerce motion for purchasing VMware Cloud on AWS hosts and VMware Cloud Universal. This new commerce motion provides an alternative to purchasing SPP credits upfront. Distributors will receive the opportunity to enable a significant volume discount for a specific reseller/end customer combination and make payments monthly on their upfront commitment by signing a Commitment Based Contract (CBC) with VMware and committing to spend a certain amount of money on behalf of the reseller/end customer combination over a specific period. The distributor will be charged monthly by VMware based on the associated customer’s consumption of VMware Cloud offerings (assuming that the customer fulfills the 1-year/3-year commitment as agreed on in the contract between VMware and the distributor). The distributor is the one who is involved in the initial commitment-based contract, negotiating discounts and terms for their reseller/end customer combination and creating value for their resellers and end customers. The customer has the complete freedom of self-service to configure their service, add hosts and purchase VMware Cloud on AWS subscriptions, and value-add VMware Cloud services. The end customers’ selections are appended to the commitment-based contract signed by the distributor and billed through the distributor/reseller combination, eventually passing to the end customer.
The distributor has the option to sign two types of CBCs – VMware Cloud standalone CBC and VMware Cloud Universal CBC (which includes benefits like Cloud Acceleration Benefit, VMware Success 360 (CAB/S360), and additional exclusive offerings like VMware Cloud Foundation Subscription (VCF-S) and Google Cloud VMware Engine (GCVE)).
The channel customers who have started small with SKU-based transactional motion and are ready to invest in VMware Cloud on AWS over time can shift to Commitment Based Contracts to get additional cloud offerings and better discounts. Learn more
- Partner led Try and Buy Pilots on AWS Marketplace: Try and Buy Pilots to Production incentive enhances the Proof of Concept (PoC) customer projects with additional financial incentives. Combining VMware’s Customer Lifecycle Incentives for Proof of Concepts with AWS promotional credits allows partners to drive “Pilots” for their customers that will convert to “Production” at no additional charge when the customer is ready to buy. The new promotion supports partner-led try and buy initiatives for customers who have workloads transitioning to the cloud. Access the VMware Cloud Marketplace Reseller Program page and check out this one-pager to learn more.
- Enhancements to AWS Resell Route to Market for Brazilian customers: Now, Brazilian customers can purchase VMware Cloud on AWS hosts and other VMware Cloud services through AWS Resell route to market. With the enablement of VMware Cloud Automated onboarding, Brazilian customers and partners can now have access to all capabilities that are part of AWS Resell contract such as monthly payments, flex subscriptions, multiple sellers of record etc. In addition, previously AWS Resell Brazilian customers had to levy 43% in taxes for purchasing VMware Cloud products through the US Entity. With this feature, Brazilian customers will be billed under local Brazilian tax laws and won’t have to pay any additional taxes.
Enhancements to enterprise workload support:
- Windows 11 support for existing VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs: In order to install/upgrade to Windows 11 VMs, as per the Windows 11 installation requirements specified by Microsoft, customers are required to add virtual Trusted Platform Module (vTPM) device to the VMs. With this feature, after upgrading to VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC version 1.20+, all existing SDDCs will have support for vTPM using vSphere Native Key Provider (NKP), thus providing enhanced security for Windows 11 workloads. vTPM is fully compatible with TPM 2.0, supported by Windows and Linux Guest OSes. You can add a vTPM device to a VM using the VM Edit settings menu option. NKP generates keys using a key-derivation-key in the NKP config and keys are pushed to all hosts. So now, customers will be able to install/upgrade to Windows 11 workloads in a seamless manner.
Improvements in migration capabilities
- VMware HCX Enhancements:
With latest release of VMware HCX 4.4, lot of enhancements have been made to address new requirements, stabilize the current feature set and provide additional security. Some of these enhancements include:
- Transport Analytics – It enables on-demand testing and baselining transport performance based on the conditions of the underlay network. Understanding transport network performance will help customers in planning migration wave size and in analyzing data transfer and performance issues.
- VMware HCX on Photon OS – With VMware HCX 4.4, customer get improved platform security, package management, and orchestration through the implementation of VMware Photon Operating System on the HCX Manager and Service Mesh appliances.
- Network Extension High Availability- This capability uses additional Network Extension appliances to create HA Groups and provides data path and appliance redundancy in an Active/Standby mode.
- HCX Alerts – The HCX Manager UI now includes a new menu for monitoring system alert messages. Users can also view alert messages from the Alerts panel in the HCX Dashboard.
For more details about features included in VMware HCX 4.4 version, please check out this blog
Enhancements to advanced cloud management:
- VMware Aria: Introducing “Preview” of VMware Aria-a transformational multi-cloud management solution for infrastructure providers, cloud providers, and cloud consumers who want to consume multiple clouds in a cohesive and easier way. With this solution, VMware’s multi-cloud management solutions – VMware vRealize, CloudHealth by VMware Suite and Tanzu Observability by Wavefront – will be unified under the VMware Aria brand. VMware Aria Cost, VMware Aria Operations, and VMware Aria Automation provide customers with a comprehensive set of solutions for consistent delivery and operations of infrastructure and application services across private, hybrid and public clouds. VMware Aria complements and extends management of the development, delivery, DevSecOps, and lifecycle of cloud-native apps in VMware Tanzu platform. VMware Aria provides core management capabilities across delivery and config automation, performance management, and cost management in support of both traditional and modern environments. With VMware Aria, customers can accelerate business agility, optimize performance while balancing costs, and strengthen control across multiple clouds.
- vRealize Network Insight (SaaS) enhancements for VMware Cloud on AWS customers: vRealize® Network InsightTM Universal and vRealize® Network InsightTM Cloud is a solution for end-to-end network visibility, troubleshooting, and analytics that enables application discovery to enable migrations, optimizes network performance with troubleshooting capabilities, and manages the scaling of VMware Cloud on AWS deployments. Key feature enhancement for Q3 FY23 includes:
- Application Dashboard with vRealize Network Insight: It introduces an easy way to identify applications across VMware Cloud on AWS or other environments that need attention. The dashboard shows alerts, intent failures, and other app issues. The dashboard provides updates from newly discovered applications and applications that have changed. The dashboard also helps visualize whether the application is communicating across the internet, what is the security status and whether the application is on-premises, cloud, or hybrid. From the dashboard, there is also a way to launch Guided Network Troubleshooting to further root cause the application issue.
To view the latest status of features and release updates for VMware Cloud on AWS, visit: https://www.vmware.com/products/vmc-on-aws.html. And refer to the release notes VMware Cloud on AWS release notes.
The following capabilities are available today: VMware Cloud DR: Integration with vSphere+, Conditionally waive pre-charge when purchasing VMware Cloud on AWS hosts using credit card, VMware Cloud Launchpad enhancements , 2Tier Commitment Based Contracts (CBC), Enhancements to AWS Resell Route to Market for Brazilian customers, Try and Buy on AWS Marketplace, VMware HCX 4.4 features
The following capabilities/offerings are expected to be available in VMware’s Q3’Fiscal Year 2023: i4i.metal instance type, vSphere 8.0, Integration with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, VMware Cloud Flex Storage, VMware Transit Connect provides Managed Prefix Lists, Ransomware Recovery for VMware Cloud DR, VMware Cloud DR: 2Tier Commitment Based Contracts (CBC), Seller mobility, Term commitments, VMware Site Recovery 8.6 enhancements, Self-service maintenance scheduling, Customer feedback submission for upgrades, Windows 11 support for existing VMware Cloud on AWS SDDCs, vRealize Network Insight Cloud: Application Dashboard
The following capabilities/offerings are expected to be Preview in VMware’s Q3’Fiscal Year 2023: VMware Cloud Flex Compute, IPv6 for workload communication within the SDDC, Project Northstar, Cross-Cloud DR, VMware Aria
For more information related to VMware Cloud on AWS, here are some more learning resources for you:
- You can learn more about our VMware Cloud on AWS service at the VMware Cloud on AWS website or by viewing VMware Cloud on AWS: Overview.
- Follow us on Twitter @vmwarecloudaws and give us a shout with #VMWonAWS.
- Leverage the new VMware Cloud on AWS Techzone for curated technical documentation.
- Watch informative demos, overview videos, webinars and hear from our customers: VMware Cloud on AWS on YouTube.
- Try the VMware Cloud on AWS Lightening Lab for a first-hand immersive experience.
- Read our latest VMware Cloud on AWS blogs.
- Obtain the VMware Cloud on AWS Solution Brief and VMware Cloud on AWS TCO 1-pager.
- Follow the VMware Cloud on AWS release notes, VMware Site Recovery release notes and VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery release notes on continuing updates.
- Read Technical Guides on Operations, Applications, and Performance.
- Listen to latest episodes of VMware Cloud on AWS Unplugged Podcast
- Check out Cloud Customer Success Community, engage with your peers and get your questions answered.
Disclaimer: VMware makes no guarantee that services announced in preview will become available at a future date. The information in this blog is for informational purposes only and may not be incorporated into any contract. This article may contain hyperlinks to non-VMware websites that are created and maintained by third parties who are solely responsible for the content on such websites.