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What is VMware Hybrid Cloud?

What is VMware hybrid cloud? VMware pioneered virtualization, the basis of cloud—but is VMware hybrid right for you? Here are the pros and cons to consider.

Jun 08, 2023 • 6 Minute Read

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What is VMware hybrid cloud, and, as someone working cloud, why do you need to know about it? In this post, we'll cover how VMware tools can be used to manage a virtual data center, why you might choose VMware over other cloud solutions, and why VMware is an ideal solution for adapting your on-premises data center and establishing a cloud footprint.

VMware isn't a cloud provider, but VMware is the pioneer of virtualization — which all clouds are based around. And because of that, about three-quarters of all virtualized servers and enterprises run VMware. 

Most enterprises will never just dump all of their infrastructure in the cloud and shut down everything in their own data centers in a heartbeat.

Cloud providers noticed that and developed a new option for these companies. Let them run their data center in the cloud rather than come up with lengthy migration strategies. Think about it for a moment, just move your servers into the cloud, manage it the way that you always have no tools required, your IT department continues to do what they already know. It's a simple but effective idea.

Now let’s uncover what VMware hybrid cloud is, how it simply works, and how you can quickly and easily establish a cloud presence on existing platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure.

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Why should you use VMware for hybrid cloud?

VMware manages all of its servers, virtual machines, and the rest of an on-premises infrastructure using its own native tools: vCenter, vRealize, vSphere, etc.

It's become increasingly easy to use VMware solutions to manage a virtual data center.

So how valuable are VMware products and services for your existing IT setup? Simply put they can connect to a cloud provider, and that cloud is then added to the locations, allowing you to provision, manage and remove services, just like any other VMware data center.

This is why hybrid on VMware is so effective. You get the best of both worlds — on-premises, as well as some benefits of cloud utilization.

It's not limited to just one cloud either. You can add and manage resources like compute, storage, and networking in multiple clouds using the same VMware tools.

So if one cloud provider has stronger features or benefits than others regions, you can use them. Compute, storage, networking, and other services on the cloud provider remain unchanged. The only thing that changes is the way that it's managed. 

Since VMware isn't a cloud platform, it doesn't face the same competition. If you're already using VMware, it makes sense to ask, "Do we continue to use VMware, or do we use another set of management tools?" And there may be a few things to consider here... 

VMware Licensing Cost vs Other Self-Managed Tools

First, there's a licensing fee associated with all of VMware's products. It can be a hefty sum and companies might rather change their entire environment just to avoid paying another licensing cost.

There are plenty of open-source and cloud-native tools available to perform essentially the same functions.

There's an important point to note though: VMware solutions have gained market share by simply being the best at what they do. There are other products out there that are cost-effective yet have a much smaller market footprint. So you may want to heavily consider how your environment is utilized, monitored, and managed before making any hasty decisions. 

VMware Pros and Cons

Let's start with the pros.

  1. You don't have to refactor or re architect workloads. You can just migrate them over. (That's fantastic!)
  2. You can pick almost any cloud provider. (Also fantastic!)
  3. Consistent environment and operations, which is also going to be really huge. 

For weaknesses, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. You're going to have to make sure that your VMware environment is updated to mitigate some of the issues that may result in older versions.
  2. The other one is that because of the huge range of features offered across all the different clouds, there are some limited availability in some regions and some providers. Make sure that when you're selecting a cloud provider, you review the VMware documentation and any limitations for the cloud provider that you're researching. 

The ideal scenario for VMware hybrid includes . . . well, VMware utilization. It would honestly make no sense if you were primarily using another management tool or a product and not VMware to set up a VMware hybrid infrastructure. So this solution is only an option if your main virtualization platform is VMware on-premises.

Naturally, the other requirement for the scenario is using on-premises infrastructure. While you probably wouldn't go for this option if you're already cloud-native, if you have a large VMware footprint in your data center, this would be a great option to help reduce complexity.

Is VMware hybrid cloud right for me?

Assuming you have both an on-premises data center and it's running VMware, the main reason people are using VMware hybrid cloud is because lift-and-shift cloud migration is the focus on gaining a cloud footprint.

If you're not going to be using a lot of platforms as a service (PaaS) or software as a service (SaaS) offering immediately, and you're not heavily integrating new management tools into your application development processes immediately, VMware hybrid cloud is the way to go.

If you're going to choose VMware hybrid cloud, the first step is to select the cloud provider. VMware hybrid cloud can be integrated with numerous cloud providers and services. So you'd want to do a bit of research to find out which provider will work best for you. For example, if you're already familiar with Amazon Web Services, then you'll be happy to hear that there is a lot of integration built up between the two. 

In fact, they've created a certification track for VMware cloud on AWS. If you'd like to dig a little deeper into that, our VMware Cloud on AWS Management exam course would be a great place to start. It'll help you learn how to integrate and migrate as well as how to modernize app deployment using the new VMware cloud foundation software as a service.

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