Back to the Basics: The 3 Cloud Computing Service Delivery Models

In recent years, the adoption of cloud computing services has increased tremendously, especially given the onset of the pandemic. According to a report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), the public cloud services market grew 24.1% year over year in 2020. This increase in popularity is credited to the benefits provided by cloud including flexibility, on-demand capacity planning, cost reductions, and ability for users to access shared resources from anywhere.

No matter where you are in your cloud journey, understanding foundational concepts like the different types of cloud service models is important to your success in the cloud. These cloud computing service models provide different levels of control, flexibility, and management capabilities. With a greater understanding of the models, their benefits, and the different ways to deploy these infrastructures, you can determine the method that matches your business needs best.

What are the 3 Cloud Computing Service Delivery Models?

Different cloud computing service delivery models help meet different needs, and determining which model is best for you is an important first step when you transition to the cloud. The three major models are IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

IaaS is one of the most flexible cloud computing models. The infrastructure and its features are presented in a completely remote environment, allowing clients direct access to servers, networking, storage, and availability zones. Additionally, IaaS environments have automated deployments, significantly speeding up your operations in comparison to manual deployments. Some examples of IaaS vendors include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. In these types of environments, the vendor is responsible for the infrastructure, but the users still have complete control over the Identity Access Management, data, applications, runtime, middleware, operating system, and virtual network.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Another cloud computing service delivery model is Platform as a Service (PaaS). PaaS is a subset of IaaS, except customers are only responsible for Identity Access Management, data, and applications and it removes the need for organizations to manage the underlying infrastructure. Rather than having the responsibility over hardware and operating systems as with IaaS, PaaS helps you focus on the deployment and management of your applications. There is less need for resource procurement, capacity planning, software maintenance, and patching. Some examples of PaaS include Windows Azure, Google AppEngine and AWS Elastic Beanstalk.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Perhaps the most well-known of all three models is SaaS, where the deployment is redistributed to third party services. The customer’s only responsibilities are Identity Access Management, data, and the task of managing software. SaaS offers the entire package offered between IaaS and PaaS, as infrastructure, middleware, and applications deployed over the web can be seamlessly accessed from any place at any time, no matter the platform. Vendors of SaaS include CRM services like Salesforce and productivity software services like Google Apps. One major benefit of SaaS is that it reduces the costs of software ownership and eliminates the need for IT staff to manage the software so your company can focus on what it does best.  Another benefit of SaaS that its relevance to businesses today, as SaaS is considered the best option for remote collaboration. With SaaS, your applications can be accessed from any geographical location and your company is not responsible for managing the hardware.

Choosing the Cloud Computing Model that is Right for You

 Each cloud computing service model has different benefits to consider when determining the model that will work best for your business needs, projects, and goals.

While IaaS gives you complete control over your infrastructure, some businesses may decide they do not need to fully manage their applications and infrastructure on their own. IaaS is considered a good fit for SMEs and startups who do not have the resources or time to buy and build the infra for their own network. Additionally, larger companies may prefer to have complete control and scalability over their infrastructure, so they too may opt for IaaS for a pay-as-you go, remote option with powerful tools. One downside to IaaS is that it is more costly in comparison to PaaS and SaaS cloud computing models, yet it does minimize costs in the sense it eliminates the need to deploy on-premises hardware.

IaaS Benefits

  • Reduced vendor lock-in
  • Platform virtualizations
  • On-demand scaling
  • GUI and API-based access
  • Increased security
  • Multi-tenant architecture

IaaS Disadvantages

  • Potential for vendor outages
  • The cost of training how to manage new infrastructure

PaaS is a good choice if you are looking to decrease your application’s time-to-market, because of its remote flexibility and accessibility. Thus, if your project involves multiple developers and vendors, each have quick accessibility to computing and networking resources through a PaaS. PaaS might also be used by a team of developers to test software and applications.

PaaS Benefits

  • Rapid product development through simplified process
  • Custom solutions
  • Highly scalable
  • Eliminates need to manage basic infrastructure
  • Future-proof
  • Multi-tenant architecture

PaaS Disadvantages

  • Security issues
  • Increased dependency on vendor for speed and support

SaaS is a feasible option for smaller companies that need to launch their ecommerce quickly or for short term projects that require quick, easy, and affordable collaboration from either a web or mobile standpoint. Any company that requires frequent collaboration such as transferring content and scheduling meetings will find SaaS convenient and accessible.

SaaS Benefits

  • On-demand service
  • Automated provisioning/management of your cloud infrastructure
  • Subscription-based billing
  • Allows for full remote collaboration
  • Reduced software costs
  • Pay-as-you-go

SaaS Disadvantages

  • Less control
  • Limited solutions

The 3 Cloud Computing Deployment Models

Another foundational concept of cloud are the deployment models. A deployment model is where your infrastructure resides and also determines who has control over its management. Like the cloud computing service delivery models, it is also important to choose the deployment model that will best meet the needs of your business.

There are three types of cloud computing deployment models:

Public Cloud

A cloud deployment means your applications are fully run in the cloud and accessible by the public. Often, organizations will choose a public cloud deployment for scalability reasons or when security is not a main concern. For example, when testing an application. Businesses may choose to create or migrate applications to the cloud to take advantage of its benefits, such as its easy set-up and low costs. Additionally, a public cloud deployment allows for a cloud service provider to manage your cloud infrastructure for you.

On-Premises/Private

 An on-premises cloud deployment, or private cloud deployment, is for companies who need to protect and secure their data and are willing to pay more to do so. Since its on-premises, the data and infrastructure are accessed and managed by your own IT team. Due to in-house maintenance and fixed scalability, this deployment model is the costliest.

Hybrid

 A hybrid cloud deployment connects cloud-based resources and existing non-cloud resources that do not exist in the cloud. The most common way to do this is between a public cloud and on-premises infrastructure. Through a hybrid cloud integration, you can segment data according to the needs of your business. For example, putting your highly sensitive data on-premises while putting less-sensitive data on the public cloud for accessibility and cost-effectiveness. This allows you to enjoy the benefits of the cloud while maintaining a secure environment for your data.

Next Steps

Determining the cloud computing service delivery model and deployment model best for your organization are both critical steps to the success of your company’s cloud computing journey. Get it right the first time by consulting with 2nd Watch. With a decade of experience as a managed service provider, we provide cloud services for your public cloud workloads. As an AWS Consulting Partner, Gold Microsoft Partner, and Google Cloud Partner, our team has the knowledge and expertise to efficiently guide you through your cloud journey. Contact us to learn more or talk to one of our experts.

-Tessa Foley, Marketing

Google Cloud, Open-Source and Enterprise Solutions

In 2020, a year where enterprises had to rethink their business models to stay alive, Google Cloud was able to grow 47% and capture market share. If you are not already looking at Google Cloud as part of your cloud strategy, you probably should.

Google has made conscious choices about not locking in customers with proprietary technology. Open-source technology has, for many years, been a core focus for Google, and many of Google Cloud’s solutions can integrate easily with other cloud providers.

Kubernetes (GKE), Knative (Cloud Functions), TensorFlow (Machine Learning), and Apache Beam (Data Pipelines) are some examples of cloud-agnostic tools that Google has open-sourced and which can be deployed to other clouds as well as on-premises, if you ever have a reason to do so.

Specifically, some of Google Cloud’s services and its go-to-market strategy set Google Cloud apart. Modern and scalable solutions like BigQuery, Looker, and Anthos fall into this category. They are best of class tools for each of their use cases, and if you are serious about your digital transformation efforts, you should evaluate their capabilities and understand what they can do for your business.

Three critical challenges we see from our enterprise clients here at 2nd Watch repeatedly include:

  1. How to get started with public cloud
  2. How to better leverage their data
  3. How to take advantage of multiple clouds

Let’s dive into each of these.

Foundation

Ask any architect if they would build a house without a foundation, and they would undisputedly tell you “No.” Unfortunately, many companies new to the cloud do precisely that. The most crucial step in preparing an enterprise to adopt a new cloud platform is to set up the foundation.

Future standards are dictated in the foundation, so building it incorrectly will cause unnecessary pain and suffering to your valuable engineering resources. The proper foundation, that includes your project structure aligned with your project lifecycle and environments, and a CI/CD pipeline to push infrastructure changes through code will enable your teams to become more agile while managing infrastructure in a modern way.

A foundation’s essential blocks include project structure, network segmentation, security, IAM, and logging. Google has a multi-cloud tool called Cloud Operations for logs management, reporting, and alerting, or you can ingest logs into existing tools or set up the brand of firewalls you’re most familiar and comfortable with from the Google Cloud Marketplace. Depending on your existing tools and industry regulations, compliance best practices might vary slightly, guiding you in one direction or another.

DataOps

Google has, since its inception, been an analytics powerhouse. The amount of data moving through Google’s global fiber network at any given time is incredible. Why does this matter to you? Google has now made some of its internal tools that manage large amounts of data available to you, enabling you to better leverage your data. BigQuery is one of these tools.

Being serverless, you can get started with BigQuery on a budget, and it can scale to petabytes of data without breaking a sweat. If you have managed data warehouses, you know that scaling them and keeping them performant is a task that is not easy. With BigQuery, it is.

Another valuable tool, Looker, makes visualizing your data easy. It enables departments to share a single source of truth, which breaks down data silos and enables collaboration between departments with dashboards and views for data science and business analysis.

Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Google Cloud offers several services for multi-cloud capabilities, but let’s focus on Anthos here. Anthos provides a way to run Kubernetes clusters on Google Cloud, AWS, Azure, on-premises, or even on the edge while maintaining a single pane of glass for deploying and managing your containerized applications.

With Anthos, you can deploy applications virtually anywhere and serve your users from the cloud datacenter nearest them, across all providers, or run apps at the edge – like at local franchise restaurants or oil drilling rigs – all with the familiar interfaces and APIs your development and operations teams know and love from Kubernetes.

Currently in preview, soon Google Cloud will release BigQuery Omni to the public. BigQuery Omni lets you extend the capabilities of BigQuery to the other major cloud providers. Behind the scenes, BigQuery Omni runs on top of Anthos and Google takes care of scaling and running the clusters, so you only have to worry about writing queries and analyzing data, regardless of where your data lives. For some enterprises that have already adopted BigQuery, this can mean a ton of cost savings in data transfer charges between clouds as your queries run where your data lives.

Google Cloud offers some unmatched open-source technology and solutions for enterprises you can leverage to gain competitive advantages. 2nd Watch has helped organizations overcome business challenges and meet objectives with similar technology, implementations, and strategies on all major cloud providers, and we would be happy to assist you in getting to the next level on Google Cloud.

2nd Watch is here to serve as your trusted cloud data and analytics advisor. When you’re ready to take the next step with your data, contact Us.

Learn more

Webinar: 6 Essential Tactics for your Data & Analytics Strategy

Webinar:  Building an ML foundation for Google BigQuery ML & Looker

-Aleksander Hansson, 2nd Watch Google Cloud Specialist

A Hybrid Approach to Modernization Using Google Anthos

Often times, organizations want to modernize their applications to increase agility and efficiency, jumpstart growth and accelerate time to market.   They are looking to build applications, which adopt new application architectures and cloud-native services without disrupting the business. In many cases, some modernization may already be occurring in pockets throughout the organization, but the complexity of proprietary IT stack, dependencies on legacy applications, and slow speed of migration has inhibited organizations from gaining the desired outcomes.

To achieve your modernization goals while maintaining flexibility to choose where applications reside, Google Cloud created Anthos.  Anthos is a 100% software solution, designed to work where you want – on-premise or in the cloud. It brings the same Google Kubernetes Engine you would find in Google Cloud to your data center, providing the maximum hybrid flexibility for application placement.  By abstracting the infrastructure from the application, Anthos allows your development teams to focus on building applications, not managing infrastructure.

For organizations embarking on their modernization journey or for where adopting Kubernetes seems intimidating, Google has taken this into consideration with Migrate for Anthos. Migrate for Anthos performs the heavy lifting on your existing applications and containerizes applications that benefit from containerization. It automates the extraction of existing applications from servers and VMs into containers, without having to rewrite or re-architect applications, eliminating much of the complexity that  has inhibited your modernization efforts.

Once you embrace and adopting Kubernetes, hybrid application placement becomes easier with Anthos.  Google Anthos provides a unified management experience across deployments, making everything from your binaries and your application configuration to your security policies and rollback processes, portable between on-premises and other public clouds.  As a result, instead of training all your teams on several platforms, you train them once, preserving your existing investments utilizing a common management layer to help your teams deliver quality services with low overhead.

To help you through your modernization journey, 2nd Watch has created Hybrid Cloud Solutions with Google Anthos.  Designed to accelerate your modernization effort by operationalizing your organization on Anthos and implementing Kubernetes quickly, you can progress on your digital transformational journey at the pace that works best for your development teams and accomplishes your organizational goals.

With more than 10-years assisting clients in transitioning from legacy compute to highly agile cloud native teams, our proven methodology is designed to enable you to become a multi-cloud organization with a consolidated view, at a speed that works best for your business.

2nd Watch’s Hybrid Cloud Solutions with Google Anthos includes:

  • Anthos workshop
  • Set-up and configuration of Anthos
  • Migrate for Anthos
  • Istio and configuration management
  • Optimize security, observability, and resiliency
  • Creation of post migration image update process

It’s never been easier for your organization to adopt a multi-cloud application architecture.  Whether you are just starting your transformation or already well into the process of modernizing your applications, Google Anthos allows you to consolidate all your operations across on-premises, Google Cloud, and other clouds, while giving you the flexibility to run and move applications where you need them without added complexity.  Download our datasheet for more details.

-Dusty Simoni, Sr Product Manager, Hybrid Cloud

  1. Assumes <100 workloads. Pricing based on actual time and materials. Google Anthos, infrastructure, and networking are sold separately. Kubernetes training, application modernization or re-architecture, high-availability, and multi-data center implementations are additional. Assumes Migrate for Anthos is utilized and only supported Linux VMs.

5 Benefits of VMware Cloud on AWS

Everyone’s journey to the cloud is different. Before deciding your direction, you should consider your business goals, risk tolerance, internal skills, cost objectives, and existing technology ecosystem.  For some, the choice is a 100% native cloud-first strategy on a single Cloud Service Provider (CSP). Others will use a mixture of services across multiple providers. And some others will choose a hybrid strategy in some form.  For a hybrid approach, an interesting option worth considering is leveraging VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS.

VMware Cloud on AWS is a great solution to consider whether you are integrating your on-prem work environment into the cloud, evacuating your datacenter, scaling datacenter extensions, looking at disaster recovery (DR), or focusing on remote workforce enablement.

What is VMware Cloud on AWS?

About three years ago, hundreds of engineers from VMware and AWS spent more than two years bringing the VMware Cloud solution to market. VMware Cloud on AWS refers to the VMware infrastructure stack or VMware cloud foundation. It encompasses the three infrastructure software pieces that VMware is known for: vSphere, NSX and vSAN. vSphere provides virtualization of compute, NSX is virtualization of the network, and vSAN virtualizes storage. VMC is an instance of the vCloud foundation being executed on AWS bear metal hardware. When you sign up for a VMware Cloud account, you can get access to the entire VMware stack in an AWS availability zone in just 90 minutes.

Traditionally, VMware has been in datacenters. Now, you can combine those servers into one piece of hardware. With AWS, you can now move functionality to the cloud and enjoy the many benefits of this platform.

1. Expanded functionality

There is so much more functionality in the VMware stack than in the cloud alone. There’s also more functionality in the cloud than you can build in your own environment. VMware Cloud on AWS is more than just a traditional VMware stack. It’s all the functionality of NSX, vSAN, and vSphere, plus the latest additions, at your fingertips, allowing you to always run the latest version of VMware to have access to the newest features. VMware takes care of the maintenance, upgrading, and patching, and with VMC being placed in AWS, you have instant access to all of the AWS cloud features in close physical proximity to your application, allowing you to experience improved performance.

2. Easy adoption

If you’re new to the cloud and have experience with VMware, you will easily be able to apply those existing on-prem skills to VMC on AWS. Because vShere on-prem is the same as the vSphere on AWS, it’s backwards compatible. The traditional management interface of the vCenter has the same look and feel and operates the same in the cloud as it does on-prem. These mirrored interfaces allow you to preserve the investment you have made in your existing VMware administrators, keeping headcount and employee costs down because you don’t have to hire for new skills or ask existing techs to increase their skillset. This quick familiarity lets you ramp up and use the service much faster than bringing in a completely new platform.

3. Agile scaling capability

After COVID-19 safety precautions sent 80-90% of the workforce home, organizations scrambled to enable and protect their new remote workers. Datacenters and BDi farms weren’t built to scale for the influx, and it’s just not possible to build additional datacenters as fast as necessary. Organizations needed to find already-built hardware and available datacenters and software that could meet their needs quickly. VMC on AWS solves the problem because it is built to scale without the limitations of on-prem environments.

4. Transition from CAPEX to OPEX

A fundamental change people are seeing from VMC on AWS is the ability to move from a capital expenditures (CAPEX) model to an operating expenditures (OPEX) model, freeing you from exceptionally long and expensive contracts for datacenters and DR locations.

With VMC, you can move to an OPEX model and spread your cost out over time, and the hardware, maintenance, and upgrades are no longer your responsibility. On top of that, the savings in headcount, manpower, and man hours creates a conversation between IT and financial staff as to what’s best for the overall organization.

5. Lower costs

Chances are, you’re already using VMware and recognize it as a premium brand, so if you’re looking at cost solely from a compute point of view, it might appear as if costs are higher. However, if you add up the individual expenses you incur without VMC – including real estate, hardware, software maintenance, headcount, management, travel costs – and compare that to VMC on AWS, you see the cost benefit ratio in favor of VMC. And additional resources are saved when you consider all the management roles that are no longer your responsibility.  VMware also offers a hybrid loyalty program with incentives and savings for customers who are already invested in the VMware ecosystem.

2nd Watch holds the VMware Cloud on AWS Master Services Competency. If you’re considering the next step in your cloud journey, Contact Us to learn more about our team of VMware Cloud experts, available to help you navigate the best platform for your goals.

5 Best Practices for Managing the Complexities of a Hybrid Cloud Strategy

Hybrid cloud strategies require a fair amount of effort and knowledge to construct, including for infrastructure, orchestration, application, data migration, IT management, and potential issues related to silos. There are a number of complexities to consider to enable seamless integration of a well-constructed hybrid cloud strategy. We recommend employing these 5 best practices as you move toward a multi-cloud or hybrid cloud architecture to ensure a successful transition.

Utilize cloud management tools.

Cloud management providers have responded to the complexities of a hybrid strategy with an explosion of cloud management tools. These tools can look at your automation and governance, lifecycle management, usability, access and more, and perform many tasks with more visibility.

Unique tooling for each cloud provider is especially important. Some partners may recommend a single pane of glass for simplicity, but that can be too simple for service catalogues and when launching new resources. The risk with going too simplistic is missing the opportunity to take advantage of the best aspects of each cloud.

Complete a full assessment of applications and dependencies first.

Before you jump into a hybrid cloud strategy, you need to start with a full assessment of your applications and dependencies. A common misstep is moving applications to the public cloud, while keeping your database in your private cloud or on-prem datacenter. The result is net latency drag, leading to problems like slow page loads and videos that won’t play.

Mapping applications and dependencies to the right cloud resource prior to migration gives you the insight necessary for a complete migration with uninterrupted performance. Based on the mapping, you know what to migrate when, with full visibility into what will be impacted by each. This initial step will also help with cloud implementation and hybrid connect down the line.

Put things in the right place.

This might sound obvious, but it can be challenging to rationalize where to put all your data in a hybrid environment. Start by using the analysis of your applications and dependencies discussed above. The mapping provides insight into traffic flows, networking information, and the different types of data you’re dealing with.

A multi-cloud environment is even more complex with cost implications and networking components. On-prem skills related to wide area network (WAN) connectivity are still necessary as you consider how to monitor the traffic – ingress, egress, east, and west.

Overcome silos.

Silos can be found in all shapes and sizes in an organization, but one major area for silos is in your data. Data is one of the biggest obstacles to moving to the cloud because of the cost of moving it in and out and accessing it. The amount of data you have impacts your migration strategy significantly, so it’s critical to have a clear understanding of where data may be siloed.

Every department has their own data, and all of it must be accounted for prior to migrating. Some data silo issues can be resolved with data lakes and data platforms, but once you realize silos exist, there’s an opportunity to break them down throughout the organization.

An effective method to breaking down silos is by getting buy-in from organizational leaders to break the cultural patterns creating silos in the first place. Create a Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) during your cloud transformation to understand and address challenges within the context of the hybrid strategy across the organization.

Partner with proven experts.

Many companies have been successful in their hybrid cloud implementation by leveraging a partner for some of the migration, while their own experts manage their internal resources. With a partner by your side, you don’t have to invest in the initial training of your staff all at once. Instead, your teams can integrate those new capabilities and skills as they start to work with the cloud services, which typically increases retention, reduces training time, and increases productivity.

Partners will also have the knowledge necessary to make sure you not only plan but implement and manage the hybrid architecture for overall efficiency. When choosing a partner, make sure they’ve proven the value they can bring. For instance, 2nd Watch is one of only five VMware Cloud on AWS Master Services Competency holders in the United States. That means we have the verified experience to understand the complexities of running a hybrid VMware Cloud implementation.

If you’re interested in learning more about the hybrid cloud consulting and management solutions provided by 2nd Watch, Contact Us to take the next step in your cloud journey.

-Dusty Simoni, Sr Product Manager, Hybrid Cloud

3 Reasons to Consider a Hybrid Cloud Strategy

If there’s one thing IT professionals can agree on, it’s that hybrid cloud computing isn’t going away. Developed in response to our growing dependence on data, the hybrid cloud is being embraced by enterprises and providers alike.

What is Hybrid Cloud Computing?

Hybrid cloud computing can be a combination of private cloud, like VMware, and public cloud; or it can be a combination of cloud providers, like AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Hybrid cloud architecture might include a managed datacenter or a company’s own datacenter. It could also include both on-prem equipment and cloud applications.

Hybrid cloud computing gained popularity alongside the digital transformation we’ve witnessed taking place for years. As applications evolve and become more dev-centric, they can be stored in the cloud. At the same time, there are still legacy apps that can’t be lifted and shifted into the cloud and, therefore, have to remain in a datacenter.

Ten years ago, hybrid and private clouds were used to combat growth, but now we’re seeing widespread adoption from service providers to meet client needs. The strategy has range from on-prem up to the cloud (VMware Cloud (VMC) on AWS), to cloud-down (AWS Outposts), to robust deployment and management frameworks for any endpoint (GCP Anthos).

With that said, for many organizations data may never entirely move to the cloud. A company’s data is their ‘secret sauce,’ and despite the safety of the cloud, not everything lends itself to cloud storage. Depending on what exactly the data is –mainframes, proprietary information, formulas – some businesses don’t feel comfortable with service providers even having access to such business-critical information.

1. Storage

One major reason companies move to the cloud is the large amount of data they are now storing. Some companies might not be able to, or might not want to, build and expand their datacenter as quickly as the business and data requires.

With the option for unlimited storage the cloud provides, it is an easy solution. Rather than having to forecast data growth, prioritize storage, and risk additional costs, a hybrid strategy allows for expansion.

2. Security

The cloud is, in most cases, far more secure than on-prem. However, especially when the cloud first became available, a lot of companies were concerned about who could see their data, potential for leaks, and how to guarantee lockdown. Today, security tools have vastly improved, visibility is much better, and the compliance requirements for cloud providers include a growing number of local and federal authorities. Additionally, third party auditors are used to verify cloud provider practices as well as internal oversight to avoid a potentially fatal data breach. Today, organizations large and small, across industries, and even secret government agencies trust the cloud for secure data storage.

It’s also important to note that the public cloud can be more secure than your own datacenter. For example, if you try to isolate data in your own datacenter or on your own infrastructure, you might find a rogue operator creating shadow IT where you don’t have visibility. With hybrid cloud, you can take advantage of tools like AWS Control Tower, Azure Sentinel, AWS Landing Zone blueprints, and other CSP security tools to ensure control of the system. Similarly, with tooling from VMware and GCP Anthos you can look to create single policy and configuration for environment standardization and security across multiple clouds and on-prem in a single management plane.

3. Cost

Hybrid cloud computing is a great option when it comes to cost. On an application level, the cloud lets you scale up or down, and that versatility and flexibility can save costs. But if you’re running always-on, stagnant applications in a large environment, keeping them in a datacenter can be more cost effective. One can make a strong case for a mixture of applications being placed in the public cloud while internal IP apps remain in the datacenter.

You also need to consider the cost of your on-prem environment. There are some cases, depending on the type and format of storage necessary, where the raw cost of a cloud doesn’t deliver a return on investment (ROI). If your datacenter equipment is running near 80% or above utilization, the cost savings might be in your favor to continue running the workload there. Alternately, you should also consider burst capacity as well as your non-consistent workloads. If you don’t need something running 24/7, the cloud lets you turn it off at night to deliver savings.

Consistency of Management Tooling and Staff Skills

The smartest way to move forward with your cloud architecture – hybrid or otherwise – is to consult with cloud computing experts. 2nd Watch helps you choose the most efficient strategy for your business, aids in planning and completing migration in an optimized fashion, and secures your data with comprehensive cloud management. Contact Us to take the next step in your cloud journey.

-Dusty Simoni, Sr Product Manager, Hybrid Cloud

Improved Performance and Disaster Recovery with VMware Cloud on AWS

Even though public cloud adoption has become mainstream among enterprises, the heavily touted full cloud adoption has not become a reality for many companies, nor will it for quite some time.  Instead we see greater adoption of hybrid cloud, a mixture of public and private clouds, as the predominant deployment of IT servicesWith private cloud deployments largely consisting of market share leader, VMware, it gives even more credence to a VMware Cloud on AWS solution. 

Looking back 2 years to when VMware and AWS made the announcement that they had co-engineered a cloud solution, it makes a lot more sense, now.   That wasn’t necessarily always the case.  I’ll be among the first to admit that I failed to see how the two competitive solutions would coexist in a way that provided value to the customer.  But then again, I was fully drinking the cloud punch that said refactoring applications and deploying in a “cattle vs pets” mentality was necessary to enable a full-on digital transformation to merely survive in the evolving aaS world. 

What I was not considering was that more than 75% of private clouds were running on VMware.  Or that companies had made a significant investment into not only the licensing and tooling, but also in their people, to run VMware.  It would not have made sense to move everything to the cloud in many situations. 

I viewed it solely as a “lift and shift” opportunity.  It provided a means for companies to move their IT infrastructure out of the data center and “check the box” for fully migrating to the cloud while allowing for the gradual adoption of AWS cloud native solutions as they trained staff accordingly.   

While it is true that performing a complete data center evacuation is a common request with various factors influencing the decision, delaying cloud native is less of a driver.  Some companies are making the decision because they have been unsuccessful in renegotiating their contract with their colo-provider and find themselves in a tough situation resulting in the need to rapidly move or be locked-in for another lengthy contract.   In other situations, the CIO has decided that their valuable human capital would be better spent delivering higher value to their company as opposed to running a data center and converting from a CAPEX to OPEX model for their IT infrastructure works better for their business. 

However, there are two use cases that seem to be bigger drivers of VMware Cloud on AWS; the need for improved performance and disaster recovery.   

Aside from on-demand access to infrastructure, another big advantage of AWS is the sheer number of solutions they have created that become available to use in a matter of minutes and can be easily connected to your applications residing on VMware VMs. With VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension (HCX), moving applications between on-Premises VMware deployments and VMware Cloud on AWS deployments is seamless.  This allows your VMs be closer to the dependent AWS tooling to improve latency and may result in improved performance for your users. If you have a geographically disbursed user base, you can easily set up a VMware Cluster in a region much closer, further reducing latency.   

I do want to caution, though, that prior to performing a migration of your applications to VMware Cloud on AWS, you should create a dependency map of all your VMs in your on-premises environment.  It is necessary to have a thorough understanding of what other VMs your applications are communicating with.  We have seen numerous cases where proper identification of dependencies has not occurred, resulting is dissatisfaction when the application is moved to VMware Cloud on AWS but the SAP database remains on-premises.  So, while you may have brought the application closer to your users, performance could be impacted if the dependencies are not located nearby. 

The other use case that has been gaining adoption is the ability to have a disaster recovery environment.  With the severity of natural disasters occurring at what seems like an increased rate, there is a real threat that your business could be impacted with downtime.  VMware Cloud on AWS coupled with VMware Site Recovery Manager provides you an opportunity to put in place a business continuity plan in geographically diverse regions to help ensure that your business keeps running. 

The other exciting thing is that hybrid cloud no longer has to be located outside your data center.  VMware Cloud on AWS has gained such wide spread acceptance that, at AWS re:Invent 2019, VMware announced the opening of a VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts Beta program, which brings the popular features of AWS Cloud right into your data center to work alongside VMware.  This seems like it would be best for clients who need the benefits of VMware Cloud on AWS but have some data sovereignty issues or legacy applications that simply cannot migrate to off premise VMware Cloud. 

As one of only a handful of North American VMware Partners to possess the VMware Master Services Competency in VMware Cloud on AWS, 2nd Watch has performed numerous successful VMware Cloud on AWS Implementations.  We also support AWS Outposts, helping AWS customers overcome challenges that exist due to managing and supporting infrastructures both on-premises and in cloud environments, for a truly consistent hybrid experience.

If you want to understand how VMware Cloud on AWS can further enable your hybrid cloud adoption, schedule a VMware Cloud on AWS Workshop – a 4-hour, complimentary, on-site overview of VMware Cloud on AWS and appropriate use cases – to see if it is right for your business.  

-Dusty Simoni, Sr Product Manager

Getting the Most Bang for your AWS Buck

Cloud computing continues to redefine itself as more customers begin their “Journey to the cloud.” There are many value propositions between different cloud providers, including, but are not limited to; agility, cost savings, time to market, increased security, flexibility, elasticity, economies of scale, a more effective support model, and the list continues.

As we start to understand the cloud provider landscape and take a snapshot into who is going to be the market leaders in the future, it is easy to see that Amazon Web Service (AWS) will be amongst that leader board. AWS is not only defining the IT infrastructure as a Service market, but it is also changing the consumption model for IT.

Due to the drastic changes in the procurement process of infrastructure, more business level executives (CFO, COO, CEO) are being pulled into the strategic decision making process of acquiring infrastructure as a service. For those executives that are not familiar with cloud services, I would like to offer a few tips that will not only support your overall corporate goals, but will allow you to make informed decisions in this highly evolving landscape of cloud computing.

  • Train yourself on the new model – Changing your company’s IT spend from a capital expenditure model to an operational model can be challenging. Consult with your AWS account manager on best practices. Discuss your goals with a Premier Partner within AWS’ ecosystem. Converse freely within your company to understand how you can address potential roadblocks before they happen. The procurement department and the finance teams within your organization will have great insight on how to help with this process.
  • Be cautious of jumping in with two feet – Many organizations are starting their journey with a hybrid model (on-premise + cloud). Test/DEV, disaster recovery, or non-production applications are all great candidates for moving to the cloud. Your ERP system and your mission critical applications may still have some lifecycle on their existing infrastructure and should remain on-premise until an evolutionary plan can be developed. Start small, think big and enable your staff to learn the technology, while still supporting your organization’s goals and business objectives.
  • Leverage the free tier – AWS offers a free usage tier and has no restrictions on your particular use-case. Spin up a new application, train your engineers on the new platform, or simply an existing application. The choices are yours to make, and it will not affect your bottom line.
  • Reserve Instances – For the applications that are running in a steady state or have a consistent operating floor, purchase reversed capacity. This will immediately give you cost efficiency between 40%-70% off your on-demand billing.
  • Get rid of excess capacity – Many organizations are accustomed to procuring IT infrastructure that has been over provisioned to meet the demand of peaks and spikes in their business. With cloud computing, you do not need to allocate excess capacity. With the proper architecture, it will be waiting for you when you need it. Optimize your environment(s) and leverage one of the grea advantages of cloud computing.
  • Tiered Pricing – For heavy users of cloud services, AWS offers tiered pricing to customers that consume web services up to certain thresholds. Review these tiers and forecast your roadmap to meet these levels before reporting deadlines (fiscal year ends).

If you follow these guidelines, your business will be sure to reach cost efficiency in the cloud.

-Blake Diers, Alliance Manager