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VMware Cloud on AWS: Add-On Capabilities

It’s time to get used to a world where our infrastructure lives on someone else’s hardware. This now includes running our vSphere hypervisor on Amazon’s servers, along with giving up the ongoing maintenance of our vSphere environment. Yeah, I know, it will be a difficult time for us to get used to not performing patch management and upgrades of our ESXi servers, but rest assured that VMware will be handling this task for us when we move to the VMware Cloud on AWS solution.

What about those auxiliary components that we’re accustomed to managing alongside our vCenter servers though? You remember those thingslike VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM), for example.

If you’re not familiar with SRM, it’s a licensed tool by VMware used for migrating workloads from one vCenter to another. These migrations could be for a planned outage or a data center moveor the tool can be used to recover protected VMs in the case of a data center outage. Version 1 of SRM has been around since 2008, so the tool is a very mature migration and disaster recovery solution used by many organizations around the world. The tool requires you to deploy a Site Recovery Manager server in each of your sites and then pair them together. The SRM servers communicate with their local vCenter and handle the orchestration of your migrations or failovers.

How does this change in the cloud world? Well, remember that our vCenter is now managed by VMware, so we don’t have to deploy it any longer, but some of our auxiliary toolslike SRMcan still be used with our cloud version of vCenter and even better, VMware will manage this for you, as well! VMware has added some “Add-Ons” for VMware Cloud on AWS so that you no longer have to manage the components on the cloud side. At the moment, there are two Add-Ons that are available for VMware Cloud on AWS: Hybrid Cloud Extension and Site Recovery.

From within the VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC console, you only need to click the “Activate” button to add Site Recovery to your VMware Cloud on AWS environment.

Clicking the Activate button will give you further direction on what needs to be completed for the on-premises side, which would include downloading components for deploying the Site Recovery server for your on-premises vCenter.

After activating, you’ll need to wait a few minutes before the Site Recovery server appears in your VMware Cloud on AWS environment.

Once complete, you can see the Add-On is activated and you have a link to download the components.

Here, you’ll download and install the components on-premises and when you’re done, you’ll notice the architecture for Site Recovery looks a lot like what you might have been used to with Site Recovery Manager. The main difference being that you don’t need to deploy or manage some components yourselfjust activate an Add-On.

This post focused on the Site Recovery example Add-On, but HCX would follow a similar path where you activate the Add-On within the SDDC side and deploy your HCX components yourself on the on-premises side. Right now, there are only two Add-Ons available for VMware Cloud on AWS, but it’s pretty reasonable to assume that VMware will also introduce new Add-Ons for their other products, like vRealize Automation (vRA) or vRealize Operations Manager (vROps).

If you plan to use the HCX Add-On, it’s provided for free to use with migrations to VMware Cloud on AWS. The Site Recovery Add-On has a fee associated with it, but currently, there is a promotion running to allow the first 200 VMs protectedfree of charge! For more details on the promotion, reach out to your VMware account manager or better yet, contact the AHEAD team to leverage our partnerships with VMware and AWS.


Stay tuned for the next article in my VMware Cloud on AWS series. In the interim, check out, “6 Use Cases for VMware Cloud on AWS” for a high-level view into the platform’s benefits, along with “VMware Cloud on AWS: Interoperability With AWS,” to learn about use cases for native AWS services.

Ready to get started? Check out the AHEAD Briefing Catalog and contact us to start a conversation with one of AHEAD’s consultants.