This post was written by Sander Rodenhuis and Posted on 17 maart 2017

Last year VMware together with AWS announced a new offering: VMware Cloud on AWS or VMC. They say it’s a unique new offering, where you can run the same VMware on AWS EC2 and seamlessly migrate workloads (from your on-premises datacenter to AWS). VMware is used in practically all on-premises datacenters around the world and AWS is one of the leaders in the public cloud market. VMware vCloud Air hasn’t really been a big success, so partnering with AWS sounds like a smart move to get a bigger piece of the hybrid cloud market. All because Microsoft released Azure Stack.

So what is VMC going to offer us? Because much details still haven’t been shared, I am getting more and more curious. Yesterday I went to the Dutch VMware user group conference (a perfectly organized conference with lots of interesting sessions, thanks to Dennis and his team), hoping to see more of VMC. In the keynote, Frank Denneman of VMware gave a (very small) preview of the new VMC functionality. Did we see a real live demo? Unfortunately, not. But for what I have seen and read until now, I don’t really get that excited. Especially not as excited as the guys introducing the VMC offering at the last AWS re:Invent and VMware World.

VMC will offer you to extend your on-premises vSphere SDDC to AWS datacenters and fully manage the hosts for you. With VMC you don’t have to worry anymore about hardware failures or updates and you can manage the on-premises and VMC environment with a single pane of glass (vCenter). Maybe this will encourage customers to extend their datacenter to the cloud. That’s what VMware thinks. And then the AWS services are just (literally) a few steps away.

But what about integration between vSphere running in AWS datacenters and the AWS cloud services itself? In the demo on YouTube, VMware says you can now seamlessly take advantage of all the AWS services. So can you use the AWS marketplace (integrated into your content library) and deploy an Amazon Machine Image on VMC? Can you assign EIP’s to VM’s? Can you deploy a VPC endpoint? Can you use IAM roles and assign them to VMs running on VMC? Maybe I haven’t been paying attention, but I think the answer to all these questions is no! Another questions that pops my mind is: how can you take advantage of using multiple availability zones? Do you need to deploy a cluster in each availability zone for high availability? So far no answers at all. I think with seamlessly, VMware means ‘AWS services are just right next door’. For latency that can be an advantage, but is that really all?

Some will probably disagree, but to me VMC is just renting physical servers with an extended service care pack and managed ESXi. Yes, it eliminates CAPEX, but you have to start with a minimum of four (Yes 4!) hosts.

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These hosts need to be paid for by the hour. Or you can use reserved hosts for one year or three years. Three years you say? Reserving capacity for three years is a pricing model that belongs to the datacenter era. Long term commitment is a big risk and predictions for future use are wrong most of the time. To me reserving hosts for three years has nothing at all to do with cloud computing.

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Pricing still hasn’t been released, but I think VMware has to come up with an offer you just can’t refuse, before you even start thinking about using VMC. Or maybe they will start offering Elastic DRS with spot ESXi hosts!