In 2016, VMware and IBM entered into a strategic partnership to provide clients with access to a turnkey, native VMware environment in IBM Cloud’s data centers (located on every continent outside of Antarctica!). VMware customers are able to “lift and shift”—and ultimately, transform —their environments on-premises onto the IBM Cloud without needing to refactor their applications and workloads. Over the past two years, we have created a number of unique solutions for VMware workloads, and I want to highlight the most compelling value propositions.
1) Hypervisor and full administrator access
VMware Solutions on IBM Cloud provides customers with full bare metal and hypervisor access and full administrative access to vCenter, PSC, NSX, and any add-on service. Customers deploying their VMware environment in IBM Cloud possess the same control, security, and functionality as they do with their on-premise environment. We provide a completely native VMware environment, requiring no changes to existing tooling or processes. The only difference is that it is consumed in a Cloud model.
2) Multiple SDDC configurations and hardware options
We understand that customers have different requirements, and we embedded flexibility into our solution. Customers have the choice of two automated software-defined data center (SDDC) configurations—VMware vCenter Server (VCS) and VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF)—which are automatically provisioned in hours at data centers around the globe. Within VCS and VCF, customers can tailor the environment to their workloads because we offer six different compute options, nine RAM options, and two storage types (vSAN and NFS), providing over 200 different choices.
3) Multiple storage options
Some workloads run better on different storage types, so we wanted to provide robustness and choice to ensure that we deployed the optimized storage for the customers’ workloads and applications. Customers can choose vSAN All-Flash, Endurance File Storage, and NetApp ONTAP Select. Customers consuming Veeam and IBM Spectrum Protect Plus (our backup solutions) will soon be able to use IBM Cloud Object Storage.
4) Security and compliance
Recognizing that security is one of the biggest causes for hesitation in Cloud adoption, we designed our VCS and VCF solutions to alleviate these concerns. Our VCS and VCF are hosted on single, dedicated environments, which eliminates the “noisy neighbor” effect and data corruptions from other tenants. Our VMware hardware attestation to the chipset ensuring workloads run on trusted servers with role-based access, as well as Intel TXT that provides encryption at the chip-level. VCS and VCF also integrate industry-leading security solutions, such as Intel/HyTrust, F5, and Fortinet. HyTrust provides data sovereignty and encryption, F5 enables gateway load balancing and uniform security policies, and Fortinet allows consistent security policies between on-premise and IBM Cloud. With access to the hypervisor and bare metal, clients can ensure the technical, business, and personnel controls that are in place help meet compliance and auditing requirements.
5) Business continuity and high availability
Customers expect uptime 24/7/365, and with the growing threats of cyber attacks and natural disasters, maintaining uptime has become essential. We recognize that having a resiliency strategy is now a necessity. VMware Solutions on IBM Cloud has three resiliency tools—Zerto (disaster recovery), Veeam (disaster recovery and backup), and IBM Spectrum Protect Plus (backup)—that enable customers to reduce downtime. These offerings are hypervisor-based solutions. By exposing our hypervisor, customers have access to the native advanced features and functionalities of these solutions. IBM Resiliency provides managed services for Veeam and Zerto. With our recent announcement of VMware for Mission Critical Workloads, we provide customers with high availability within a data center region with an SLA of 99.99% uptime.
6) Network backbone and geographic reach
VMware Solutions for IBM Cloud is available at 50+ data centers worldwide. Once a customer has deployed an environment in the IBM Cloud, they can secure through our private network backbone and replicate and migrate their workloads to other IBM Cloud data centers for free. Our unmetered private worldwide network backbone enables unmatched connectivity as users can easily migrate workloads between their deployed environments. For example, if you have a production environment and a backup environment in another data center, the daily/weekly rate of change would be completely free, saving you a significant cost.
7) Migration made easy
We combined our VMware vCenter Server (VCS) and VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX) in VMware vCenter Server with Hybridity Bundle, allowing customers to get the flexibility of VCS and the migration capabilities of HCX. HCX allows customers to create an abstraction layer that will enable them to migrate and modernize their on-premise environment to the cloud without changing IP or MAC addresses. We have other migration tools, such as Zerto and NSX, which allow the customers to choose a migration solution that fits their workloads best. If you need assistance with migration, IBM Migration Factory offers a service where we work onsite to design, plan, and migrate your environment into the cloud.
8) VMware expertise
IBM and VMware have been partners for decades, and throughout the years, IBM has cultivated extensive expertise on VMware. We have over 1,000 VMware Certified Professionals and business partners who can provide managed services for VMware Solution in IBM Cloud if a customer prefers to have their VMware environment managed. IBM Cloud was first to market delivering a VMware Cloud Foundation in the Cloud, and IBM Cloud was recently awarded the VMware 2017 Partner of the Year Award, highlighting our VMware expertise and innovation.
9) Modernize apps to accelerate innovation
Many organizations looking to leverage cloud can now “lift and transform” their heritage applications and accelerate innovation by migrating those applications to the cloud and extending them into new public cloud services. Leveraging IBM Cloud Private and IBM Services to re-architect or partially refactor heritage applications, customers can containerize stateless apps with microservices and keep stateful portions of their workloads in VMware. Through the modernization and transformation process, customers get a path to cloud-native applications with DevOps, Microservices, Containers, and much more.
10) Leverage and optimize investment in IBM Middleware
Many enterprises use IBM Middleware products, such as WebSphere and API Connect, that could have Mission Critical System of Record on multiple on-premise platforms. Customers can move those records into the IBM Cloud, providing new levels of insights and innovations, by leveraging IBM’s vast array of PaaS services, such as Watson AI, IoT, Analytics, WebSphere as a Service, and many more.
VMware Solutions on IBM Cloud provides an extension of the customers’ on-premise VMware workloads in a flexible and saleable cloud model.