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Migrating VMware workloads to AWS

: Is Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP right for you?

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Sandra Dunbar
Sandra Dunbar
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On August 30, at VMware Explore 2022 in San Francisco, we announced the general availability of the VMware Cloud on AWS integration with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP. The reception was overwhelming. Mark Lohmeyer, SVP and GM of VMware’s Cloud Infrastructure Business Group, called it “a no-brainer.” Narayan Bharadwaj, VP of VMware Cloud Solutions, said, “The combination of VMware and NetApp is the platform of choice for business-critical workloads.” And VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram said, “Together, VMware and NetApp offer the multicloud flexibility and choice that customers need to leverage the best innovations in the cloud environment.” 

And since then, every customer I’ve talked to who is migrating VMware workloads to AWS wants to learn more.

But is it right for everyone?

As much as we would like everyone in the world to be running VMware Cloud on AWS integration with Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP, the reality is that it’s not for everyone. FSx for ONTAP is great for truly data-intensive, storage-heavy workloads, 300GB and above. Below that threshold, the math just doesn’t work. 

To understand why, we have to look at what makes FSx for ONTAP such a game changer. It's the only integrated, certified, and supported external NFS datastore for VMware Cloud on AWS, and it's also the only solution to decouple compute and storage in the cloud with an integrated solution built on NetApp® ONTAP® storage software managed by the AWS Management Console.  

VMware workloads typically require significantly more storage, CPU, and memory, so past a certain point, solutions that require you to scale compute and storage together can get costly quickly. As soon as you begin to need more storage than compute power, you’re going to wish that you could separate the two. We find that threshold to be about 300GB. Above that point, the cost savings from being able to scale storage independently start to add up. And, boy, do they add up. 

Up to 50% TCO for storage-heavy workloads

For big, enterprise VMware estates, we estimate that you can lower total cost of ownership by 25% to 50%. And at the scale we’re talking about, that can be a big deal. 

You don't even have to be running VMware on NetApp to take advantage of these savings. No matter which on-premises storage you're running, NetApp can take your workloads to the cloud and save you money doing it. No other storage vendor or infrastructure vendor has a path to the cloud for these specific storage-heavy workloads. NetApp is the first. 

If it sounds too good to be true, you can easily check it out for yourself. Try our TCO calculator to see how much you can save. To get the most out of the calculator, watch this demo about how to use it and interpret the results.

Let’s look at a couple of examples from actual NetApp customers. 

Example 1: Midsize enterprise data center evacuation 25% lower TCO

This midsize enterprise was looking to get out of the data center business and into a managed offering. The customer had 351 virtual machines (VMs) and 589TB of storage. We went with a hybrid deployment, which cut the SDDC costs roughly in half. SDDC plus storage resulted in 25% TCO savings—more than $1M—over a 3-year period.

chart: midsize enterprise datacenter evacuation

Example 2: Midsize enterprise large file system workload 49% lower TCO

This was a mixed mandate workload. The customer had about 150TB of aggregate storage, 90TB of which were associated with their VMs. Here we ran a multideployment configuration, so there were two FSx file systems in this solution. There’s one for the VM workload, assuming that we are only getting 20% efficiency savings due to large applications (mostly databases). We specified 100% SSDs with a large-throughput controller. The file server workload is just office shares, so we assumed 65% efficiency and put only 20% of the workload on SSDs. Even with multiple file systems and managing the cost of the deployment on the back end, the customer could see savings of up to 49% lower TCO over 3 years by moving the file server workload out of VSAN and supporting it directly in FSx. 

Sandra Dunbar

Sandra leads the hybrid multicloud product marketing for alliance partners like VMware. Her career has been focused on building and executing fully integrated marketing programs for the enterprise audience. Based in Los Angeles, she has previously held senior level positions with Nutanix, OpenDrives, Cisco, EMC, Sun Microsystems, IBM and various startups.

View all Posts by Sandra Dunbar

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