A product of VMware's collaboration with Amazon Web Services, VMware Cloud on AWS is, essentially, a configuration...
that enables VMware virtual machines to run natively within the Amazon Web Services cloud.
Since VMware Cloud on AWS is still relatively new, it has yet to receive widespread adoption. Even so, a few use cases are starting to emerge among organizations that have adopted VMware Cloud on AWS.
The primary use case for VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS so far seems to be migrating on-premises workloads to the cloud. However, for an organization that isn't looking to phase out its on-premises VMware assets, it's possible to connect an on-premises VMware deployment to VMC on AWS in a way that enables single pane of glass management for both environments. This is especially useful for businesses that want to use the cloud to allocate additional capacity to workloads that normally run on premises.
Some VMC on AWS early adopters have expressed interest in using the cloud as a dev/test environment. Given the expense of VMC on AWS, it seems unlikely that many organizations will use the environment as a dedicated testing platform. It seems far more plausible that dev/test sites will share space within the VMware cloud with production applications, or be moved to an on-premises hyper-converged environment.
Another use case that some organizations are exploring is using the VMware cloud as a disaster recovery site. VMC on AWS seems ideally suited for disaster recovery purposes since it provides the geographic isolation required of business continuity solutions, and because VMware makes it relatively easy to move workloads to the cloud.
VMC on AWS price tag a hurdle to adoption
So far, the biggest roadblock to VMC on AWS adoption is the cost. VMware offers three different pricing options: On-demand service costs $8.3681 per hour. A one-year reserved plan sells for $51,987 per year, and a three-year reserved plan sells for $109,366 for three years.
Although these prices might not seem out of line with the cost of running a workload on premises, the prices above are structured on a per host basis. VMware requires subscribers to lease a minimum of four hosts, which puts the entry price of a one-year reserved plan at over $200,000.
Even though VMware lists its subscription rates online, actual costs can vary. Businesses eligible for VMware's Hybrid Loyalty Program, for example, might receive a discount of up to 25%; data transfer costs and IP address charges aren't included in the subscription fee.
Furthermore, VMware offers a number of add-ons that aren't included in the base subscription price. These add-ons include VMware Site Recovery at $0.0493 per VM, per hour, and VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension at $180 per VM for a one-time VM migration event, or $1.70 per host, per hour for a Hybrid Cloud Extension Instance.
Hidden benefits of VMC on AWS
In spite of the fact that many people have said the subscription cost is too high, there are two things that VMware customers really like about VMC on AWS. First, subscribers are given access to dedicated hardware that isn't shared with other subscribers. Each cloud host is equipped with two physical CPUs, and 36 total CPU cores with 72 hyper-threads.
Each host also includes NVMe-attached flash storage, which is divided into a 3.6 TB cache and a 10.7 TB raw capacity tier. Businesses that require additional resources can lease more nodes, up to 16 per cluster.
The other thing that subscribers like about VMC on AWS is that the subscription fee includes support costs for the subscription period. Additionally, VMware ensures that the hosts and the software-defined data center are configured correctly, and also handles maintenance tasks, such as patch management. In essence, this means that subscribers are able to focus on managing their VMs without having to worry about managing the underlying infrastructure.