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VMware's road to the cloud has been long and, at times, bumpy. Although it originally aimed to go toe-to-toe with major cloud providers, like Amazon and Microsoft, VMware changed tack after a string of failures, selling off its vCloud Air business to OVH in April 2017. Despite facing challenges, VMware isn't completely out of the cloud computing game yet, and there are still plenty of VMware cloud services on offer. Before putting any of these products to use, there are a number of things an administrator should consider, including whether the product meets the needs of the organization, whether the product's benefits outweigh its cost and how others have fared in adopting it. Read up on these tools to understand the landscape of VMware cloud services, and plan which ones you might use to supplement your environment.
Burst to the cloud with VMware Cloud on AWS
Cloud bursting and disaster recovery are the two main use cases for VMware Cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Though it's limited by the need to provision and configure each environment, the capacity to transport VMs from an on-premises environment to the cloud provides significant benefits for critical infrastructure needs. VMware bills you for the capacity you use, but if you only need resources intermittently, you will either have to keep the environment up -- but idle -- or reconfigure the environment every time you need it. VMware Cloud on AWS will continue to improve as it becomes more flexible and easier to use. For now, its cost and power make it more appropriate for larger customers.
VIO improves vSphere VM deployment
Organizations increasingly use the cloud to make their workloads available; VMware has followed suit by integrating OpenStack into vSphere with VMware Integrated OpenStack (VIO). This is especially useful because many of VMware's products already align with OpenStack, which allows skilled Linux users to turn vSphere-based software-defined data centers (SDDCs) into an OpenStack cloud. The OpenStack cloud has become a major platform, and VIO integrates it with current VMware products, providing access for users through the familiar vSphere Web Client. VIO's easy implementation further distinguishes it from other OpenStack distributions.
VMware AppDefense offers security enhancements
AppDefense is one of six new SaaS tools VMware released under its new VMware Cloud Services subset. AppDefense is a compute-level service which sits next to the hypervisor to detect workload anomalies. It offers embedded threat detection and responses for applications in vSphere-based environments. AppDefense is part of VMware's long-term strategy to improve security and network visibility, a strategy that also includes NSX microsegmentation. Other tools in this new subset include VMware Cost Insight, VMware Discovery, VMware Network Insight and VMware NSX Cloud.
Evaluate cloud computing costs with these tools
Numerous vendors, including VMware, have released cost management tools to help companies with the surprisingly difficult problem of determining cloud costs. These tools need careful evaluation because they are often expensive, even as they struggle to deliver information objectively. Cloud suppliers provide their own management tools but often design them from their own perspective rather than the customer's, which has opened a market for companies to offer add-on billing offerings, such as VMware vRealize for Cloud. One of the primary causes of rising costs is shadow IT, a term that refers to the use or purchase of services without the IT department's approval. In addition, companies should turn off unnecessary resources to avoid contributing to this sprawl. VMware cloud services, like VMware vRealize Business are useful, but expensive, so interest has been slow to grow.
VIO IaaS complements a virtualized environment
The main limitation of a virtualized environment is that it is administrator-driven, which can slow down user-driven businesses that require more responsiveness for VM deployment than an administrator can offer. The infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud in VIO offers a more flexible version of virtualization, which allows companies to semi-automatically deploy VMs. It also introduces the ability to use object storage to rapidly expand storage without the need for new hardware, as well as cloud software-defined networking that easily integrates with third-party offerings. VIO integrates with vSphere and provides Nova, a tool that places VMs on hypervisor nodes that have available resources. VIO is an especially useful VMware cloud service because it provides better integration with third-party vendors, which is essential in a market that refuses to be bound to specific products and vendors.
Research to avoid hidden cloud costs
Consolidate cloud infrastructure to improve security
Learn about VMware's contributions to OpenStack