A shift to VMware Cloud on AWS provides strong utility to address a variety of business issues. It allows for easier capacity planning, simpler disaster recovery, and lets you control and contain change, and ultimately improve your security posture, according to Nathan Wheat, Head of VMware Cloud on AWS (ANZ) at Amazon Web Services.
These are all issues that comparison service iSelect found itself grappling with as it sought to modernise and transform its infrastructure, according to Head of Technology Shannon Henwood.
Indeed, that is why he decided to re-examine earlier plans to implement VMware Cloud on AWS as a short-term solution. This approach gave him the space to consider and determine the company’s longer-term plans.
The timing was fortuitous, as iSelect was already investigating VMware Cloud on AWS as part of a data warehouse migration.
As he considered the best long-term approach, Henwood took the opportunity to compare VMware Cloud on AWS to continuing on-premise.
The experience of iSelect in its move to VMWare to AWS is described in a new whitepaper called Fast Track Your Transformation with VMware on AWS
To add to the complexity of the decision-making, all this was happening just as the country was beginning the COVID-19 shutdown. This was an unforeseen disruption, which brought with it significant additional risks — such as the business need to focus on more immediate priorities such as shifting staff to remote working. Even the challenge of getting new computers physically into the country was a problem as borders closed and logistic networks ground to a halt.
According to Henwood, “We were faced with the prospect that nothing could land in the country — so there was potentially an eight- to ten-week stretch before we could even get the tin into the building.” This had implications for the implementation timeline.
Suddenly the benefits of Cloud computing were brought into high relief, as the VMware Cloud on AWS approach offered a speedier resolution to a significant technology issue that emerged earlier in the year. (Editor’s note – We needed to be circumspect as the client was describing a small disaster – ( they lost their SAN) and didn’t want that to come through in the story.)
“The AWS folks really came to town and were very helpful. The VMware Cloud on AWS people also got their hands dirty. We had daily stand-ups and we got it done with a direct connection to the VMware Cloud from my location — with the data migrated, the infrastructure stood up, and all the accounts secured in just three weeks.”
Business continuity is a critical responsibility for the IT department, and technology leaders like Henwood understand better than most the challenges posed — as the technology debt grows, and as hardware ages and reaches the end of its useful life.
Those failures, if they are serious enough and not contained quickly enough, can cascade through the enterprise with devastating effect.
Traditional disaster recovery approaches are expensive and inefficient, says Nathan Wheat, Head of VMware Cloud on AWS (ANZ) at Amazon Web Services.
“In the past, the physical infrastructure would be replaced in a location far from the data centre, and would require replication at the very least of all the systems needed to get the business back up and running in a timely way.”
CIOs then found themselves in the frustrating position of hoping those systems would sit idle and never need to be used — even as they soaked up precious financial resources.
While it might only be used once or twice a year, if only for testing, the replacement needed to be maintained with the same quality levels and security patches. Disaster recovery under the old on-premise model was basically just very expensive business insurance.
A new way of working
According to Wheat, “The advantage of VMware Cloud on AWS is that the disaster recovery environment can be maintained in such a way that it can grow to production and capacity, but without the need to maintain a full replica at all times.”
Rather than the traditional 24/7 one-for-one capability match, you get the ability to scale up to the required capacity in a short time — a matter of minutes — and you do not incur the cost of maintaining the full disaster recovery environment throughout the year when it is not being used.
VMware on AWS delivers simpler disaster recovery, according to Wheat. “It lets you add value by streamlining your approach to disaster recovery — while also reducing or removing the need for dedicated facilities — and reducing planned and unplanned downtimes.”
Among other benefits, he argues that the Cloud approach allows businesses to improve their capacity planning. “That’s true whether it’s in response to new projects, acquisitions, or increased demand for services. Or it might be about managing peak periods, so that you can streamline your capacity planning and better respond to planned and unplanned circumstances.”
He also says it is easier to minimise common IT risks and vendor support impacts while moving to Cloud — for instance as software and hardware reach the end of their life. “And there is the additional benefit of removing expensive legacy hardware support costs. VMware Cloud on AWS improves your security posture.”
“Advanced security services such as Amazon GuardDuty and Amazon Macie guard against new risk vectors. You can also leverage adaptive Cloud security service layers on top of your existing application portfolio.”