What’s in AWS Outposts with VMware?
AWS has made a substantial move into the hybrid cloud and is taking partner VMware along for the ride.
Amazon introduced compute and storage racks consisting of the public cloud provider’s hardware and software. The systems, which are called AWS Outposts, would go into the private data centers of AWS subscribers, providing easier compactness between on-premises and cloud workloads.
AWS plans two types of AWS Outposts: one with only AWS software and another with VMware Cloud on AWS. The AWS-only version is scheduled to ship at the start of next year, while the latter version, which lets organizations use the same controls to run VMware-virtualized workloads on the data center and AWS, won’t be available until the next half of the year.
Missing from the VMware version of Outposts is NSX (a platform), the network virtualization platform which is typically used to connect VMware Cloud on AWS with private data centers. Rather than necessitating companies to use VMware-supplied connectivity, AWS plans to provide “native capabilities that are part of the AWS environment,” said Eric Hanselman, an analyst at 451 Research.
What that likely means is Outposts out of the box will function natively with gateways and VPNs connecting to AWS through the cloud provider’s Direct Connect technology, Hanselman said. Organizations that want to use NSX will have to deploy it separately.
AWS announced companies with Layer 2 on-premises networking could make use of NSX to connect Outposts’ resources to network topologies and legacy applications in the data center.
Whether using NSX or another form of connectivity platform, companies should expect challenges in linking to AWS, Hanselman said “There’s a networking and interconnection component that’s a step past what I think a lot of enterprises consider.”
VMware versus Cisco in hybrid cloud
AWS’ approach to hybrid cloud is just like Microsoft’s Azure Stack and Oracle Cloud at Customer. The VMware version is more similar to the Cisco Hybrid Cloud Platform for Google Cloud.
Cisco and VMware are competingagainst each other in trying to get data center customers — many of which use both vendors’ products — to use their individual technologies to connect to public clouds.
The hybrid cloud offerings vary in that VMware is concentrating more on providing a single administration console for the data center and AWS environments, while Cisco is directing its consideration to the connect to Google Cloud, Hanselman said.
Whether an enterprise goes with VMware and AWS or Cisco and Google Cloud will likely depend on who in the company is making the decision to buy, Hanselman said. The networking team of IT willopt for Cisco’s interconnect, while the computing and software infrastructure teams would likely prefer VMware.
As a result, it’s challenging to forecast which IT department will choose the next-generation infrastructure acquisition.
In the meantime, organizations also have the option of avoiding a public cloud provider’s one-to-one hybrid connection and choosing a multi-cloud combination option, like Cisco CloudCenter and Juniper Networks’ Contrail Enterprise Multicloud.
“Each [of the many options] has a role to play and value to confer in a world where hybrid IT and multi-cloud progressively prevail,” said Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC.