VMware Cloud on AWS is an integrated hybrid cloud offering jointly developed by AWS and VMware. It’s targeted at enterprises (or companies) who are looking to migrate on-premises vSphere-based workloads to public cloud, and provides access to native AWS services.
Overview of VMware Cloud on AWS
VMware Cloud on AWS provides an integrated hybrid cloud environment, allowing you to maintain a consistent infrastructure between the vSphere environment in your on-prem data center and the vSphere Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) on AWS. It also provides a unified view and resource management of your on-prem data center and VMware SDDC on AWS with a single console.
Digital transformation continues to drive businesses to the cloud to stay competitive. But integrating public cloud with existing private cloud infrastructure requires many technical processes, and skill differences between on-prem and cloud environments to be leveraged for both of these to work simultaneously. This combined offering makes it easier for those familiar with VMware to integrate into the public cloud without having to rewrite applications or modify operating models.
One reason this offering is attractive to customers is that it provides optimized access to native AWS services including compute, database, analytics, IoT, AI/ML, security, mobile, resource deployment, and application services.
Another reason is that with automatic scaling and load balancing VMware Cloud on AWS can adapt to the changing business needs across global regions. They also position themselves as a cost-effective solution for reducing upfront investment costs with no application re-factoring or re-architecting needed when migrating. We’ll take a look at the pricing solutions it offers for on-demand and subscription models, but first, let’s see what VMware Cloud for AWS can do for the enterprise.
Use Cases for VMware Cloud on AWS
Accelerated and Simplified Data Center Migration
VMware Cloud on AWS claims to accelerate and simplify the migration process for businesses by reducing migration efforts and complexity between on-prem environments and the cloud. Once in the cloud, users can leverage VMware and AWS services to modernize applications and run mission-critical applications quickly with VMware availability and performance combined with the elastic scale of AWS.
Extend the Data Center to the Cloud with Your Existing Skillset
This offering lets users who are used to VMware keep a consistent and familiar environment on the cloud. Since VMware Cloud on AWS doesn’t require re-tooling or re-educating, IT teams can continue to deliver consistently on vSphere-based infrastructure and operations that are already implemented in existing on-prem data centers.
Add a Robust Disaster Recovery Service to Your Environment
One offering available is VMware Site Recovery: on-demand disaster recovery as a service, optimized for VMware Cloud on AWS to reduce risk without the need to maintain a secondary on-prem site. You can securely replicate workloads to VMware Cloud on AWS so you can spin them up on-demand if disaster strikes.
Flexible Dev/Test Environment
You can use VMware SDDC-consistent dev/test environments that can integrate with modern CI/CD automation tools and access native AWS services seamlessly. You can spin up an entire VMware SDDC in under two hours and scale host capacity in a few minutes.
VMware Cloud on AWS Cost Compared
So, how does the pricing shake out? Hosts can be purchased on-demand or as a 1-year or 3-year subscription. If you choose on-demand pricing, you’ll pay for the physical host by the hour that the host is active with no upfront cost, while the long-term subscription is set to provide up to 50% cost savings over an equivalent period compared to on-demand service, but you pay the costs upfront. It’s a similar idea to AWS Reserved Instances, which may or may not be worth the cost.
Depending on the use case, pricing is similar to standard AWS pricing. See how it compares in price with standard AWS or estimate your costs with the pricing estimator.
Top Tips for Using VMware Cloud on AWS
VMware Cloud on AWS is a good hybrid cloud option for those who want to stay in the VMware ecosystem while dipping their toe in AWS. Here are our top tips for using this offering:
- Estimate prices in advance: One of the main reasons you want to estimate your pricing before committing to a subscription is to avoid overspend. Idle and overprovisioned resources you are not actually using result in wasted cloud spend, so make sure you’re not oversizing or spending money on cloud resources that should be turned off.
- Educate stakeholders on the fact that this allows you to bridge on-premises infrastructure and public cloud without disruption.
- Consider whether jumping straight to the cloud is possible for some workloads – many companies start with dev/test. If so, you may be able to skip this intermediary step.
Maybe you’re looking to use PostgreSQL in your AWS environment – if so, you need to make sure to evaluate pricing and compare your options before you decide. A traditional “lift and shift” of your database can cause quite a headache, so your DBA team likely wants to do it right the first time (and who doesn’t?). Let’s take a look at some of your options for running PostgreSQL databases in AWS.
Option 1: Self-Managed Postgres on EC2
If you’re currently running your databases on-premises or in a private cloud, then the simplest conversion to public cloud in AWS is to stand up an EC2 virtual machine and install the Postgres software on that VM. Since PostgreSQL is open-source, there’s no additional charge for running the software, so you’ll just be paying for the VM (along with associated costs like storage and network transfer). AWS doesn’t have custom instance sizes, but they have enough different sizes across instance families that you can find an option to match your existing server.
As an example, let’s say you’d like to run an EC2 instance with 2 CPUs and 8 GB of memory and 100GB of storage in the us-east-1 region. An m5.large system would work for this, which would cost approximately $70 per month for compute, plus $10 per month for storage. On the plus side, there will be no additional costs if you are transferring existing data into the system (there’s only outbound data transfer costs for AWS).
The biggest benefit of running your own EC2 server with Postgres installed is that you can do any configuration changes or run external software as you see fit. Tools like pgbouncer for connection pooling or pg_jobmon for logging within transactions requires the self-management provided by this EC2 setup. Additional performance tuning that is based on direct access to the Postgres configuration files is also possible with this method.
Option 2: AWS Relational Database Service for Hosted Postgres Databases
If your database doesn’t require custom configuration or community projects to run, then using the AWS RDS service may work for you. This hosted service comes with some great options that you may not take the time to implement with your own installation, including:
- Automated backups
- Multi-AZ options (for automatic synchronization to a standby in another availability zone)
- Behind-the-scenes patching to the latest version of Postgres
- Monitoring via CloudWatch
- Built-in encryption options
These features are all fantastic, but they do come at a price. The same instance size as above, an m5.large with 2 CPUs and 8 GB of memory, is approximately $130 per month for a single AZ, or $260 per month for a multi-AZ setup.
Option 3: Postgres-Compatible AWS Aurora
One additional option when looking at AWS Postgres pricing is AWS Aurora. This AWS-created database option is fully compatible with existing Postgres workloads, but enables auto-scaling and additional performance throughput. The price is also attractive, as a similar size of r5.db.large in a multi-AZ configuration would be $211 per month (plus storage and backup costs per GB). This is great if you’re all-in on AWS services, but might not work if you don’t like staying on the absolute latest Postgres version (or don’t want to become dependant on AWS).
AWS Postgres Pricing Comparison
Comparing these costs of these 3 options gives us:
- Self-managed EC2 – $80/month
- Hosted RDS running Postgres in a single AZ – $130/month
- Hosted RDS running Postgres in multiple AZ’s – $260/month
- Hosted RDS running Aurora in multiple AZ’s – $211/month
Running an EC2 instance yourself is clearly the cheapest option from a pure cost perspective, but you better know how to manage and tune your settings in Postgres for this to work. If you want your database to “just work” without worrying about losing data or accessibility, then the Aurora option is the best value, as the additional costs cover many more features that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without.
AWS credits are a way to save on your Amazon Web Services (AWS) bill. Credits are applied to AWS cloud bills to help cover costs that are associated with eligible services, and are applied until they are exhausted or they expire. Essentially, credits are a coupon-code like mechanism used by Amazon on your bill. If you want to see how to redeem your AWS promotional credits, look here. So how do you get these credits? There are a number of ways – here are 9 that we have either used ourselves or that have been successfully used by our customers.
With AWS Activate, companies can build or scale with up to $100,000 in AWS promotional credits. AWS Activate is ideal for startups because they get access to resources as quickly as possible, and AWS provides them with a low cost, easy-to-use infrastructure to help them grow.
This is a big help for startups, knowing they are getting their money’s worth with these credits lets them focus on one thing – growth. If you are looking to get started on AWS definitely check this out.
Publish an Alexa Skill
For all you developers, each Alexa skill that you publish, you can apply to receive a $100 AWS promotional credit. Take advantage of these credits to get all your skills potential!
AWS Cloud Credits for Research
AWS Cloud Credits for Research evaluates academic research from researchers at accredited institutions around the world. Researchers that apply for this program take an initiative to build a cloud-hosted service, software, or tools and/or want to migrate a research process or open data to the cloud. The credit amount awarded will vary depending on the cost model and usage requirements documented in the research proposal.
Discover, purchase, and deploy cloud-based networking and security solutions or Big Data solutions offered on AWS Marketplace and get $200 in AWS promotional credits once you subscribe to a qualifying product.
AWS Webinars & Events
Attending AWS webinars, events, and conferences can get you AWS credits. In order to be awarded the credits, you’ll have to provide proof that you actually attended. Make sure to keep an eye on their events page, as new stuff is being added all the time.
In an effort to educate the next generation of cloud professionals, AWS has made AWS Educate available to institutions, educators, and students. It provides institutions with the resources educators and students need for training resources, cloud-related learning, and content for courses. Students have the opportunity to receive credits by getting hands-on experience with AWS tech, training, content and career pathways.
At member institutions, educators earn $200 in AWS credits compared to non-member institutions they earn $75. Students receive an AWS Educate starter account along with $50 in credits at a member institution and $35 at a non-member institution. To make this even more appealing, AWS will award students and staff with more credits if you sign up as a member institution.
AWS Credit Program for Nonprofits
Through TechSoup Global, eligible nonprofit organizations can request one grant of $2,000 AWS credits once per fiscal year.
AWS Free Tier
As always, AWS Free Tier is a great option to get access to AWS products for no cost. Customers can use the product for free up to specified limits for one year from the date the account was created.
This includes 750 hours of Amazon EC2 Linux t2.micro instance usage, 5 GB of Amazon S3 standard storage, 750 hours of Amazon RDS Single-AZ db.t2.micro Instances, one million AWS Lambda requests and you can build and host most Alexa skills for free.
AWS focuses on education technology startups long term success with their AWS EdStart program. AWS is looking to provide businesses with the resources they need to get started as quickly and easily on AWS to ensure they have every opportunity to prosper. After applying and getting approved, businesses will receive their credit validation. The credit amount awarded is based on the business’s needs.
You only have access to promotional credits for a limited time, so make sure you take advantage of all these opportunities if you can! Whether you are just getting started with AWS or have been using it for a while, there are plenty of credits and resources available to make AWS an affordable option for you.
4 Ways to Get Google Cloud Credits
7 Ways to Get Azure Credits
AWS CloudWatch is Amazon Web Services’ primary monitoring tool for your cloud environment. Whether you are aware of it or not, if you use AWS, your data is being collected in CloudWatch, on more metrics than you probably know what to do with. With a small amount of effort, however, you can make this data work for you to reduce costs, automatically.
What AWS CloudWatch Data Tells You
First of all, is AWS CloudWatch collecting data about your utilization? Almost certainly, the answer is yes. As an example, here are some of the metrics that are collected by default for EC2:
- CPU Utilization
- Disk Read Ops
- Disk Write Ops
- Disk Read Bytes
- Disk Write Bytes
- Network In
- Network Out
- Network Packets In
- Network Packets Out
Full list here.
Like many AWS services, AWS CloudWatch has a free tier that covers the needs of many applications. You’ll need to pay more for custom metrics; extra dashboards, alarms, and logs; and custom events.
Also worth keeping in mind is that data is kept historically, based on the data resolution. Data points with a period of 60 seconds are kept for 15 days, although shorter periods are kept for as short as 3 hours, and longer for up to 15 months.
What to do with all this data? First, set up your AWS CloudWatch dashboard(s) and create alerts on the metrics that are important to you. The next step is to use this data for automated optimization of your environment.
How to Turn That Data into Automated Cost Savings
Most organizations using public cloud are wasting thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on cloud resources they’re not actually using. Even if you’re aware of overspend, you may not think you have the time or bandwidth to address the issue. With automation, integrating cost control into your daily processes can be straightforward.
One ParkMyCloud customer, Kurt Brochu of Sysco Foods, once told us, “To me, the magic is that the platform empowers the end user to make decisions for the betterment of the business.” His team has achieved a lifetime ROI of 1400% using ParkMyCloud. AWS data and ParkMyCloud’s automation capabilities empower his users to identify what spend is necessary, and what can be optimized.
Learn how – by hearing from Kurt directly!
We’re joining together with him and AWS to discuss how to empower your team to use AWS CloudWatch data to optimize cloud costs. The webinar is now complete – watch a replay here!
The webinar will give you an understanding of:
- What Amazon CloudWatch and AWS Trusted Advisor data is available that can help you save money
- Real-world examples of cost savings
- Potential data availability challenges and “gotchas” and how to address them
- How ParkMyCloud’s automated cost optimization platform can use your utilization data to optimize costs
Watch Webinar Now
Hope to see you there!
The latest update to ParkMyCloud is support for AWS China! In the latest release of the platform, we added support for the two Amazon Web Services (AWS) regions in China, expanding our cost optimization coverage for more public cloud users.
After the United States, China has the second-largest public cloud market at $10.5 billion in 2019, according to IDC. Gartner reports that in Asia as a whole, Alibaba Cloud – which ParkMyCloud also supports – holds 19.6% market share, while AWS has 11% of the market. All of that spend needs to be optimized so that it does not contribute to the billions of dollars that are wasted every year on unnecessary resources.
About ParkMyCloud AWS China Support
AWS offers two regions in China, AWS China (Beijing) and AWS China (Ningxia), which are operated by local providers – Sinnet and NWCD, respectively. In order to get an AWS China account, AWS customers must create a separate set of credentials, which require a valid Chinese business license, as Chinese law forbids non-Chinese companies from owning or operating certain technology for the provision of cloud services.
ParkMyCloud now supports both of these regions, offering the same benefits that other, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud customers enjoy:
- Machine Learning. Resource scheduling and resizing based on recommendations leveraging resource utilization history.
- Automate. A robust policy engine automates schedule and sizing actions based on user tags, and adds resources and users to teams for simplified governance.
- Easy to Use. No scripting, no agents, and a 15-minute setup. Simple UI can be used by anyone, with options for API access and integrations as needed.
- Take Action. Users can control resources and get notified with ChatOps bots in Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts.
- Save Time. Automated policies require little upkeep for savings. Keeps teams focused on creating value for their businesses.
- Save Money. Save an average of $12 for every dollar spent on ParkMyCloud. Plans start as low as $2/resource/month.
What Else is New?
Most notably, last week we released RightSizing Automation for AWS and Google Cloud Platform. This new capability gives you recommendations for sizing changes on your resources to optimize costs – which can save up to 75% per resource.
Other recent highlights for AWS users include:
- AWS GovCloud Support – cost optimization support for the two US GovCloud regions available for government and others in highly regulated industries.
- AWS Marketplace availability – gives AWS customers the option to add the cost of ParkMyCloud to their regular AWS bill with a simplified purchasing process.
And of interest to all users:
How to Get Started Optimize AWS China Costs
First, you’ll need a ParkMyCloud account if you don’t already have one. You can get started with a 14-day free trial.
Then, whether you’re a new or existing ParkMyCloud user, you will need to connect to your AWS China account via an IAM User credential rather than the normal IAM role. This is because AWS China runs in the dedicated “aws-cn” partition and ParkMyCloud runs in the “aws” public cloud partition, and AWS does not support cross-account IAM Roles between partitions. Since IAM User credentials are normally disabled within ParkMyCloud, you will need to request IAM User access by contacting ParkMyCloud Support by email or by entering a ticket using the Support link in the Console.
What other public cloud services would you like to see ParkMyCloud support? Let us know in the comments below!
Today, we’re happy to share the latest in cost optimization: ParkMyCloud now makes RightSizing recommendations for your resources in AWS and Google Cloud.
Optimize Your Cloud Infrastructure with Automated RightSizing
Choosing the right instance type for cloud resources is difficult. The major providers offer a huge range of options, each optimized for different capabilities, and a variety of sizes within each instance family. It can be hard to predict in advance what you’ll need. And indeed, our data shows that 95% of instances are operating at less than 50% average CPU – that is to say, most of them are oversized.
Why does it matter? Oversizing is a huge waste of money. Downsizing by one instance size saves 50% of the cost – and two sizes down saves 75%. You can also save money by modernizing instances. The cloud providers incentivize instance modernization by pricing the newest generations the lowest.
ParkMyCloud will not only recommend but also help you take action to resize your instances, move families, and/or modernize as needed so that you can optimize performance with the lowest cost.
What Else is New?
We’re always enhancing and improving ParkMyCloud to make it work best for you. Here’s what else is new:
What’s up next? Azure RightSizing, scheduled resizing and optimization for container services.
How to Get Started
If you’re new to ParkMyCloud, you’ll want to start with a 14-day free trial. Once you connect to your cloud provider, you’ll be able to start managing your instances. You’ll have access to the full set of Enterprise Tier features for the length of the trial, and after 14 days you can choose the free tier or a more advanced tier.
To enable RightSizing, both new and current users should contact us as this feature is currently in beta. Once that’s active, go to the Recommendations screen and select the RightSizing tab to see all sizing recommendations, which you can then click to apply. The resource will be resized the next time it’s restarted. It’s that easy!