RightScale at re:Invent: How to Manage AWS, VMware and Hybrid Cloud

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The ability to natively manage workloads across VMware vSphere, AWS, and other clouds from a single pane of glass is a topic that we’ll be covering this week at AWS re:Invent in the session AWS and VMware: How to Architect and Manage Hybrid Environments.

In their Thursday, November 13, session at 3:15 PM, RightScale Principal Cloud Architect Brian Adler and RightScale VP of Product Rishi Vaish will discuss common hybrid cloud use cases, how to cloud-enable VMware vSphere, and how to achieve cloud portability. Plus they will demo a single-pane-of-glass solution for managing hybrid cloud environments. Following is a preview of the topics they will be covering in depth.

Hybrid Cloud Environments Have Arrived

As CIOs increasingly recognize the value of hybrid IT architectures, the end goal of many enterprises is choosing technologies that efficiently enable hybrid clouds. Namely, technologies that provide push-button self-service access to standard stacks and common applications across multiple clouds combined with enterprise-grade controls.

IT teams evaluating where to deploy existing workloads in hybrid environments can choose from several options:

  • Multi-Cloud Management: Enterprises have existing workloads in VMware vSphere, AWS, and other clouds that they want to to manage natively across multiple clouds and VMware vSphere — that is, they want to see and manage these workloads from a single pane of glass and they want to provide self-service access with the requisite controls.
  • One-Way Migration: Enterprises want to migrate workloads from VMware vSphere to AWS or vice versa because they are often looking to get out of the business of managing data centers and get onto AWS or another public cloud. Or in some cases they want to move “shadow IT” apps from a public cloud to their private clouds.
  • Ongoing Portability: Enterprises need the flexibility to be able to move workloads among their various resource pools at any time. Many want to leverage specific resource pools at different points in an application lifecycle (such as public cloud for dev/test vs. private cloud for production) while others need to run workloads on specific clouds to support specific geographies. And some want to preserve choice so that they can move to other clouds or hypervisors as the market evolves or cost models change.

Why VMware Isn’t the Same As Cloud, and What to Do About It

Over the past several years many enterprises have described their legacy virtualized environments as “private cloud.” This relabeling of existing technologies, with encouragement from vendors, doesn’t address the functionality gaps between virtualization and cloud:

  • Rapid self-service
  • Migration and portability across cloud and virtualized environments
  • Support for DevOps and configuration management
  • Single pane of glass for management, visibility, and governance
  • Cost and capacity management

Many enterprises are looking for a faster path to self-service access for virtualized environments, often called virtual automation. The goal of virtual automation is to speed deployment of frequently used workloads, such as those for development, testing, training, and demos.

Enterprises want to leverage their significant investments in vSphere virtualized environments while combining these resources with AWS or other public clouds for workloads or use cases where the public cloud provides a superior service advantage over on-premises computing, including variable, scalable, and global workloads. They also want to maintain portability between disparate cloud and virtualized environments to avoid lock-in to any particular vendor and enable flexibility in future choice of hypervisor and cloud provider.

To this end, RightScale has developed a solution to cloud-enable vSphere so that enterprises can exploit the full value of vSphere, including the potential to vastly decrease operating expenditures relating to virtual data center operations. We’ll be discussing this in detail at our AWS re:Invent session.

Portability: A Possibility or a Pipe Dream?

Compelling reasons why enterprises seek application portability across hybrid clouds include the need for lifecycle-based cloud deployment, cloudbursting, disaster recovery (DR), and supporting multiple hypervisors. Migrating an existing virtualized application to a cloud is certainly possible and can often be the best option for some use cases, but there is no VM import or image translation tool that will enable you to do this fully with just a push of a button.

In the course of helping our customers move many virtualized applications to and among various clouds including AWS, we developed the RightScale Cloud Appliance for vSphere to make it much easier to manage a vSphere environment as if it were a private cloud. The lightweight virtual software appliance runs on-premises and connects RightScale to your vSphere environment. It delivers a compute cloud API on top of VMware vSphere and adds cloud-like capabilities that expand and simplify access to vSphere.

During our session at AWS re:Invent, we will discuss the latest release of RightScale Cloud Appliance for vSphere and how you can take advantage of the new features to automatically discover and add cloud-like constructs to vSphere resource, import existing virtual machine images into the RightScale Self-Service Catalog, and offer on-demand provisioning to internal developers and cloud users.

Update: If you missed our session at AWS re:Invent, we cover this same topic in our on-demand webinar on creating hybrid environments for AWS and VMware.