Choosing A Provider for VMware Workloads?

VMware Workloads Provider

Most of the cloud fanfare we see in today’s media is focused on application development, specifically, the services that cloud providers offer to support development of new applications on their platforms (IaaS). For new companies that are starting application development from scratch and don’t want the burden of deploying and managing IT (or a datacenter), or for existing companies that want to develop all new applications in the cloud, the cloud provider of your choice should give you all the tools you need to be successful.

But what about companies that have existing applications that they would like to move to the cloud? In other words, the business applications that have been developed over time, that have been adapted to fit changing business needs, and that are critical to the business operation? Many of which have specific performance, security, and capacity requirements. How do you choose a cloud provider that can best support these applications?

How do you choose a cloud provider that can best support these applications?

While there are many scenarios to play out, let’s use a very common example that most companies can relate to. VMware-based workloads. Given that hundreds of thousands of customers use VMware, the question of how to move VMware-based workloads to the cloud comes up – a lot.

Let’s start from the beginning. Why would you move VMware to the cloud in the first place? In short, for efficiency and cost savings. Yes, VMware pioneered the ability to virtualize hardware so it could be shared across many users (increasing efficiency and reducing costs). But, if it’s on a customer’s premises, it likely runs on and hardware that is owned and/or managed by the customer. Part of the move to cloud is to eliminate the burden of IT ownership. With cloud, you pay for what you use. No idle capacity or management resources.

So now that you have been sold on the benefits of cloud for VMware workloads, how do you find a provider that can best suit your needs? Ask these questions first:

  1. Do you want to maintain your current VMware management experience? – This is an important question. If you have developed skills and expertise in managing VMware On-Premises, including network config etc., moving to a new provider could mean learning new tools and configuring your new infrastructure from scratch. The good news is that there are providers that offer VMware-based clouds that look and feel like they do on-premises. No need to learn new consoles, tools or start from scratch.
  2. Do you plan to size and migrate the VMware workload yourself? Depending on your comfort with cloud, you may be able to plan your resource needs for your new cloud platform yourself. If not, you will need to work with a provider that offers services to help you size the resources necessary and provide professional services for onboarding. Otherwise, the risk is high that your business will be impacted by downtime – or worse, data loss.
  3. How are costs structured with VMware in the cloud? Asking about how costs are structured with cloud is obvious, but what might not be obvious is that several options exist. Today, you can find VMware-based clouds that price based on “t-shirt” size instances, and clouds that offer true consumption-based billing. “T-shirt” sizes are simple – S, M, L, XL. But the analogy holds in IT as it does with actual t-shirts. Unless your body fits the t-shirt perfectly (in this case, in terms of compute and storage) you may have more than you need, or not enough. Sometimes the t-shirt just doesn’t fit right. Consumption-based clouds eliminate the challenge of “right fit”.
  4. Will you manage your own security and compliance? Many of the cloud providers offer security and compliance as part of their portfolio. But, in reality, you are still managing your own requirements. If you don’t want to be in the business of ensuring your IT is compliant – whether it is from an industry perspective or from a geographic perspective – you should look for a provider that maintains a dedicated security and compliance team.
  5. You may need to convert the hypervisor. This is more of a statement than a question, because no one really wants to convert their hypervisor to a new format. But again, depending on your cloud provider, those VMware workloads may need to be converted into the providers format. This can be time and effort intensive. And in terms of Disaster Recovery, it can mean a significant performance hit impacting Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO).

The questions above are just a starting point. It’s critical to understand how the new cloud provider can support your unique VMware workloads as part of a comprehensive service. Oftentimes the providers will sell their most attractive capabilities – which, in many cases, are centered around application development, not preservation of existing VMware-based applications.

iland’s cloud platform was designed specifically for VMware-base workloads – both for application hosting, and for disaster recovery. So, we understand the importance of delivering no-compromise performance, availability, security, and compliance for VMware-based applications that are new to the cloud, but deeply integrated into the business DNA. In recent months, we have won several awards based on our platform and services – including Veeam and Zerto Partner of the Year, CRN Magazine 5-Star Rating, and our fourth time (in a row) as “Leader” in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for DRaaS.

By Steve Prentice

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