VMware-on-AWS bulks up, fails in (good) new ways and even lets you reserve a table

Virtzilla's new cloudy release cadence gets an airing

VMware has added new services, and new features, to its bare metal service running in Amazon Web Services.

The additions are perhaps less notable than the fact that VMware was able to deliver them in just three months since the service went live. On a recent visit to Sydney, Australia, the company's COO for products and cloud services Raghu Raghuram told The Register that VMware has re-organised its development schedules to produce more frequent updates to its core products. Those updates will arrive in the cloud before they're eventually rolled up into a release for on-premises consumption.

The headline changes to the service include the addition of reserved instances, for a period of one or three years. There's also a second region – AWS US East (N Virginia) to go with the previously offered US West (Oregon) – and a promise of greater scale: VMware told us that clusters running in AWS will soon now reach tens of thousands of VMs, software-defined data centre will be able to scale to 10 clusters, 32 nodes and span multiple AWS availability zones. This enlargement is VMware's pitch for enterprise workloads that need lots of machines.

There's also a new VMware Site Recovery service that snapshots VMs and pops them into AWS, whence they can be activated if failover to cloud is necessary. Fail back from AWS to on-premises or fail sideways between AWS availability zones is also offered. Virtzilla is playing catch-up here: Microsoft has had something similar for a couple of years now and has targeted VMware workloads for both disaster recovery and general migration.

Virtzilla has struck back on that second front, too, with a “Hybrid Cloud Extension” that will enable migration of on-premises workloads to AWS without requiring changes to networks. Mark Lohmeyer, the veep for products in VMware's cloud platform business unit, told El Reg that migrations to AWS will preserve network niceties such as IP and routing polices, removing the need for re-mapping apps. VMotion has been imbued with stretched L2 networking to make this happen.

VMware-on-AWS can now also use AWS's Direct-Connect, the fast on-ramp to its cloud, to further speed up migrations. It has also become possible to move from multiple versions of vSphere into the new cloudy concoctions.

There is also a sweetener to the deal in the form of proportional licence discounts for heavy on-prem users who start to use vSphere, VSAN or NSX in AWS.

In conversation with El Reg, Lohmeyer advanced the idea that, at launch, VMware-on-AWS was mostly fit for test and development. The features introduced today at AWS's re:Invent gabfest add two new use cases – migration and DR – and therefore represent significant maturation.

Lohmeyer added that these new features and services represent “a great great proof point for our quarterly development cycle.”

The Register understands this may not be the only VMware-related news to emerge from re:invent. Virtzilla supports VMware-on-AWS, but rumours abound to the effect that AWS will offer bare metal servers on which VMware's ESXi will be one of several hypervisors it is possible to deploy, along with a different support model. The Register will tune in to re:Invent to bring you that news as it breaks. ®

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