Migrating VMware workloads to AWS

3 min read

We have been keeping a close eye on the news recently around VMware Cloud on AWS. In a statement released by Broadcom, CEO Hock Tan announced that the solution will no longer be available through the AWS resell channel and must be procured directly from Broadcom or an authorised Broadcom partner. See the announcement on the Broadcom website here. This change has prompted some customers to consider alternative migration methods if they are ‘all-in’ on AWS and see the future of their applications as cloud native services. However, as we know, refactoring applications into native cloud services is not always straightforward. So, what is the alternative AWS migration option?

Xtravirt's AWS Migration Expertise

Over the past few years, Xtravirt has been working closely with AWS on many projects, primarily around VMware Cloud on AWS, although this doesn’t mean we have solely focused on this technology. Part of the success with a VMware Cloud on AWS project is ensuring a customer has the required AWS account, security, networking, governance, and management in place. This ensures that once a customer’s VMware workloads have been migrated to VMware Cloud on AWS, they are set up for success with the consumption of native services. Getting these foundational blocks in place ahead of consumption of cloud services is referred to as a landing zone and is something we have delivered for nearly all our past VMware Cloud on AWS customers.

Furthermore, we have worked with customers who have wanted to migrate directly to Amazon EC2 without using VMware Cloud on AWS. We apply the same tried and tested VMware migration methodology we have developed over the last 15 years – the source environment remains the same and the value we add comes from understanding the applications running on the platform as well as understanding the destination platform.

The Seven Rs of Cloud Migration Strategy

It is important to understand that not every application will follow the same path during a cloud migration. AWS has defined seven migration strategies which vary in difficulty, time, and cost. These are:

  1. Retire – Certain applications may be identified as no longer in service and can be retired.
  2. Retain – You may choose to leave an application on premises for various reasons such as data sovereignty or latency to users.
  3. Relocate – Migrate VMware virtual machines to VMware Cloud on AWS or migrate on premises containers to an Amazon-hosted container platform such as Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS).
  4. Rehost – Lift and shift from running on a hypervisor on premises such as VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V to Amazon EC2.
  5. Replatform – Lift and reshape, for example, leveraging AWS managed services to replace existing services.
  6. Refactor – Develop the application (or parts of it) to leverage native services, for example, a server performing a single task to transform data may be better served by a serverless function with AWS Lambda.
  7. Repurchase – With AWS Marketplace solutions, or Software-as-a-Service solutions, you may find it is a quicker transition to repurchase your application rather than trying to move it as is.

A Tried and Tested Project Methodology

Xtravirt partners closely with AWS so we leverage their assessment tooling. This will provide a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) assessment at no cost to our customers and supports the creation of a business case to demonstrate the cost savings that can be achieved as part of a cloud migration. After this, we follow the same approach to a project that we always have done: discover, design, deploy and transform. This aligns very closely with the AWS Migration Acceleration Program which we leverage to reduce the project costs for our customers.

The one constant with any successful cloud migration is an understanding of the applications. The Xtravirt team will perform application discovery, dependency mapping, and conduct application-owner interviews to fully understand the impact that any change might have. By prioritising the customer’s needs and business objectives above all else,  we ensure any changes are done in the least disruptive way possible.

While a move to Amazon EC2 is considered a rehost migration, we also look for replatform opportunities to reduce the cost overheads associated with a cloud migration by leveraging native services where applicable. For example, we may look to replace commercial load balancers with Amazon Application Load Balancer (ALB) or move a database server into Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) to minimise licensing costs and administrative overheads.

Xtravirt partners with companies who can provide application developers, so if you are looking at how you can refactor your application to improve application availability, scalability, cost, and performance as part of this journey, we can help.

Next Steps

If you would like to discuss your cloud journey and discover how Xtravirt can help, please get in touch. We would be happy to assist. Click here to contact us.

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