VMware Cloud on AWS

What’s New in VMware Cloud on AWS: Jan 2023

First of all, Happy New Year everyone. Hope you all had a nice holiday break, and you all have started this new year with great enthusiasm.

On our side, we are ready to start again with lot of exciting news for VMware Cloud on AWS. For the last 5+ years since the launch of the service, VMware Cloud on AWS is helping customers in their hybrid cloud journey across range of different use cases. And it has been proven again and again that VMware Cloud on AWS is THE fastest yet cost effective path to cloud. According to the recent Forrester report, VMware Cloud on AWS helps customers save 53% of their costs if compared to their on-premises environment. Check out this latest report to learn more. Apart from this, if you would like to check out some latest content on VMware Cloud on AWS from Cloud Economics perspective, check out this blog that shows how VMware Cloud on AWS helps accelerate cloud migration and save customers’ money.

Now, in this blog let’s look at some of the key features and capabilities we delivered in VMware’s Fiscal Q4 FY23.

Enhancements to enterprise workload support:

  • Expanding regional availability: Availability in AWS Africa (Cape Town): VMware Cloud on AWS is now available in AWS Africa (Cape Town), further improving reach for our global and regional customers. With this new regional availability, this service will now be available across 22 AWS regions globally. Learn more
  • Infrastructure and application modernization with VMware Cloud on AWS: With VMware Cloud on AWS, customers can start their modernization journey while minimizing disruption to their business. They can migrate their applications to the cloud while minimizing downtime. Once in the cloud, they can start transforming these applications by using modern frameworks such as Kubernetes, enriching them with native cloud services and automating the underlying infrastructure operations with DevOps/advanced operations tools. 
    • SDDC grouping through Terraform automation: With this functionality, customers will be able to enable SDDC grouping using Terraform Infrastructure as Code automation, thus relieving customers from a cumbersome task of managing SDDC groups via UI. Learn more

Enhancements in compute, networking and storage:

  • Enhancements in compute: The Amazon EC2 I4i.metal instance available for existing customers: With the release of VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC version 1.20, the latest instance type- i4i.metal is now available for existing VMware Cloud on AWS customers. Now existing customers can choose to deploy a new SDDC with the i4i.metal instance or migrate their workloads from existing i3.metal and/or i3en.metal hosts to the new i4i.metal instance. Learn more about i4i.metal instance type in this blog. VMware will provide in-cluster workload migration service at no extra cost to migrate workloads from i3.metal to i4i.metal for eligible customers on request. You can find more technical  details about this process in documentation and on the TechZone

I4i is a new Amazon EC2 instance that is powered by 3rd generation Intel® Xeon® Ice Lake processors and offers high I/O performance and better security with always-on encryption. With 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: ~20TiB of usable NVMe flash storage (~2 times compared to i3.metal) 
  • More processing power: 64 physical/128 logical CPUs (~1.8 times compared to i3.metal)  
  • More memory: 1,024 GB (~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  
  • Lower TCO: The I4i instance has the ability to provide 2.8 times more raw storage capacity, 1.8 times more compute and double the RAM for only a 58% increase in cost over the I3 instance. The I4i instance also has the ability to provide 66% of the raw storage capacity, 1.3 times more cores, 1.3 times the RAM and deliver a 29% decrease in cost over the I3en instance. Additionally, with the new larger size of the I4i instance (128 vCPUs and 1,024 GB of memory) customers can save on infrastructure costs as now more workloads can be consolidated on lesser number of instances.
  • Better performance: It delivers 125% better performance as compared to i3.metal instance and 51% better performance as compared to i3en.metal instance type*. Learn more

*Based on SQL Server benchmarking tool. Percentages may differ slightly based on number of hosts, number of transactions, overhead of VMware vCenter and VMware NSX Management VMs. 

  • Automated firmware updates: To expedite the delivery of firmware updates within existing SDDC deployments, VMware has developed a non-disruptive workflow that provide automated firmware updates in a timely manner. With automated firmware updates enabled by default, the process will add a new non-billable host to augment the cluster’s capacity.  Once this new host is online and healthy, the service will initiate the firmware update process by first placing the host into maintenance mode, all workloads will be migrated using vMotion to other hosts in the cluster, and then the host will be rebooted. Once the host is back online and confirmed healthy to run workloads, the non-billable host is removed. Learn more
  • Enhancements in storage:
    • Single AZ support for Integration with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP: With this enhancement, single AZ deployment is supported for VMware Cloud on AWS integration with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP. You can learn more about Integration with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP in this blog
    • General Availability of VMware Cloud Flex Storage: 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, is now Generally Available. 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 General Availability in this blog

Enhancements in availability and resiliency:

  • 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. It combines cost-efficient cloud storage with simple SaaS-based management for IT resiliency at scale, through simple testing and orchestration of failover and failback plans. Customers benefit from consistent VMware operations across production and DR sites and a ‘pay when you need’ failover capacity model for DR resources, while benefiting from instant power-on capabilities for fast recovery after disaster events, including ransomware attacks. Some of the key capabilities include pilot light feature for faster recovery times with minimal cloud footprint, Instant Power-On for VMs in the cloud in the event of a failover, optimized delta-based failback—all within a familiar VMware environment, reducing the need for IT re-training and driving ease of use as a core component of resiliency. SaaS-based management eliminates the need to deploy and lifecycle manage the DR software. Continuous DR health checks and built-in audit reports deliver a simplified operational experience and confidence in recovery readiness. New enhancements include:
    • Expanded regional availability: VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery continues to expand its regional coverage by delivering availability in AWS Africa (Cape Town). This brings the availability of VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery to 20 Global AWS Regions
  • Enhancements to VMware Site Recovery: VMware Site Recovery™ for VMware Cloud on AWS simplifies traditional disaster recovery and delivers a high-performance service. The service automates workload recovery in a DR event between on-premises data centers and VMware Cloud on AWS, as well as between different instances of VMware Cloud on AWS. Built on top of enterprise-grade DR tools (VMware Site Recovery Manager, vSphere Replication) and global cloud infrastructure (AWS), the service provides an end-to-end disaster recovery solution that is quick to deploy and leverages existing know-how. New enhancements include:
    • I4i.metal instance support: Customers will be able to recover any general-purpose workloads/workloads requiring high I/O performance/memory intensive workloads using i4i.metal clusters as the recovery target. VMware Site Recovery now supports i3.metal/i3en.metal/i4i.metal instance types at the source and recovery target.
    • Expanding regional availability: VMware Site Recovery continues to expand its regional coverage by delivering availability in AWS Africa (Cape Town). This brought the availability of VMware Site Recovery to 22 Global AWS Regions.

Enhancements in sizing, pricing and subscription options:

  • End of Sale of 1-year/3-year subscriptions of i3.metal instance type: With the General Availability of the latest instance type- i4i.metal of VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware will be ending the sale of 1-year and 3-year subscriptions of i3.metal instance type of VMware Cloud on AWS on February 1st, 2023. To learn more about end of sale, end of support and end of life timeline of the i3.metal instance type of VMware Cloud on AWS, check out this blog
  • New VMware Cloud on AWS Promotions: Low cost starter pricing promotion is now available for i4i.metal instance type as well. Here are the existing promotions for VMware Cloud on AWS:
    • 20% List Price reduction on i3en.metal hosts runs through April 4, 2023.
    • Low-cost starter pricing for 2 &3 i3en.metal and i4i.metal hosts extended till July 29th, 2023.

Please check out this blog to learn more about these promotions.

  • VMware Cloud Flex Storage inclusion in VMware Cloud Universal program: Now, VMware Cloud Flex Storage is also part of VMware Cloud Universal program. VMware Cloud Flex Storage offers a disaggregated approach to storage and compute and is especially helpful for workloads where storage evolves independently of compute. The offering is elastic, scalable, and natively integrated into VMware Cloud on AWS.
  • Multi-Cloud Adoption Program: In order to help our customers accelerate their multi-cloud journey, VMware announced a global launch of the Multi-Cloud Adoption Program (MCAP) on November 1, 2022. This program provides funding to enterprise customers to offset the cost of migrating on-premises workloads to the cloud. As a part of this program, we have also activated our partner ecosystem to provide customers with technical expertise from certified cloud-solutions partners. MCAP funds are intended to help customers de-risk their cloud spend by partially covering the cost of migration services. You can learn more about this program here

Enhancements in customer experience:

  • VMware Cloud Launchpad enhancements: With the general availability of VMware Ransomware Recovery as a Service, it is included in Infrastructure Services category on VMware Cloud Launchpad. It will provide customers prescriptive journey on how to recover from ransomware attacks by using automated ransomware recovery workflow provided by this solution.

Improvements in migration capabilities:

VMware HCX Enhancements:

With latest release of VMware HCX 4.5, lot of enhancements have been made to address new requirements from customers. Some of these key enhancements include:

  • Direct vMotion support for NSX-V to NSX-T migrations: This feature will enable NSX-V customers to leverage VMware HCX to transform to NSX-T using HCX Assisted vMotion.
    • OSAM Support for RHEL 8.5 and 8.6: This feature will enhance the existing OSAM (OS Assisted Migration) feature by supporting additional operating systems.
    • Power CLI Custom Attributes Support: Customers will be able to use PowerCLI with custom attributes support . This will help in automation efforts for customers with large number of VMs.
    • Mobility Optimized Networking (MON) support for multiple IP and vNICs: Previously, for VMs with multiple vNICs, MON required that all vNICs attach to the same network segment with all IP addresses on that same subnet. With this enhancement, MON will support VMs with multiple vNICs attached to different extended networks.
    • Replication Assisted vMotion (RAV) Seed Checkpoint support: For large RAV migrations , if there is a failure, the seed check point feature will help to resume the migrations from the failure checkpoint. This will save time and will improve overall efficiency of migrations.
    • Support for vSphere 8.0 and VM Hardware version 20 and vSAN 8 and vSphere Distributed switch version 8.
    • VMware HCX 4.5 is supported for customers using VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC Version 1.20+
    • Deployment enhancements for VMware Cloud on AWS: Users can now view deployment /un-deployment details to view associated task status.
    • Network inventory optimizations for performance enhancements: This will enable database operations to be faster thereby speeding up the time to display large network inventories during GUI operations.
    • Easy Filtering of migration events in dashboard: This will enable customers with large number of migrations to quickly see the details of the specific VMs undergoing migration.
    • Diagnostic test added for underlay management port reachability which is used to collect transport stats: This will identify if there is a connection problem.
    • Force cleanup related fixes: This will help to clean up stale data in case of failed or cancelled migrations.
    • Task management visualization enhancements: This will enable user to view tasks that completed successfully but with warnings.

For more details about features included in VMware HCX 4.5 version, please check out the release notes

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: Regional expansion to AWS Africa (Cape Town), Infrastructure modernization: SDDC grouping through Terraform automation, Automated firmware updates, DR: VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery – Regional expansion to AWS Africa (Cape Town), VMware Site Recovery: Support for i4i.metal instance type, Regional expansion to AWS Africa (Cape Town), Compute: I4i.metal instance available for existing customers, Storage: General Availability of VMware Cloud Flex Storage, Single AZ support for Integration with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, Customer experience: VMware Cloud Launchpad enhancements: Inclusion of Ransomware Recovery as a Service, VMware HCX- New enhancements with version 4.5.1, Low costs starter kit promo available for i4i.metal, VMware Cloud Universal: Support for VMware Cloud Flex Storage, Multi Cloud Adoption Program

If you would like to learn more about VMware Cloud on AWS, please check out the resources below:


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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.