After VMware and Amazon Web Services jointly unveiled plans last October for a hybrid cloud service, solution providers began seeking details on how exactly the two longtime rivals would work together and how much of AWS' cloud sales muscle would be put behind it.
AWS put some of those questions to rest earlier this year at its AWS Summit in San Francisco.
"This is a VMware service. It's not an AWS service. It’s a VMware service that's sold by VMware and also managed and operated by VMware," said Paul Bockelman, an AWS solutions architect, at a session he presented at the event last April.
VMware Cloud on AWS is comprised of three core products: vSphere, the infrastructure virtualization platform; vSAN software-defined storage; and NSX network virtualization. Linking those components of the VMware stack to AWS was always extremely difficult because the networks are "incongruent," Bockelman said.
"If you're running a VMware network, if you're running a VMware data center, the way your network looks and operates and the way you operate and expand it and configure it is going to be much different from what you do with AWS," Bockelman explained.
For that reason, VMware Cloud on AWS has been jointly engineered essentially to operate in its own gated community within Amazon data centers.
The product is not nested virtualization, Bockelman emphasized during the session. Instead, bare-metal Amazon servers will be running VMware's ESX hypervisor.
But customers will still be able to access all the capabilities of Amazon's cloud, he said, such as S3 storage, Relational Database Service, Internet of Things platform, Direct Connect dedicated networking, and Identity and Access Management.
VMware did not provide comment as of press time.
While those services will be available to customers, accessing them will require some serious tinkering, said an executive from one solution provider that works with both VMware and AWS.
To leverage AWS assets, even one as simple as S3 object storage, enterprises will need a transit virtual private cloud that sets up "complex routing using an AWS network," said the executive, who asked not to be identified.
Demand for such AWS feature integrations could generate a profitable line of business for solution providers implementing VMware Cloud on AWS.
But partners should keep in mind enterprises opting for the hybrid service might be doing so specifically to avoid spending on consultants for larger public cloud transformation projects, he told CRN.