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VMware Cloud on AWS: Interoperability With AWS

Here’s the scenario: You’re thinking of migrating some of your workloads to VMware Cloud on AWS from your on-premises data center. You’re also doing a bit of dabbling in the AWS cloud using some of their native services, such as Relational Database Services (RDS) or Elastic Container Services for Kubernetes (EKS). So, now you’re wondering, “Can I use these two cloud environments together?” The short answer is, “Of course you can.”

VMware Cloud on AWS Connectivity

It’s very important to know that your Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) will live within an AWS Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Your SDDC will be deployed with a gateway appliance, which is managed by VMware. There is no deployment configuration to worry about from the customer side except for providing the firewall rules that live within it. Internal to VMware Cloud on AWS, this gateway serves as a router for the port groups in which the VMware virtual machines live. This Gateway will have a network interface, which is located within one of the AWS subnets (AWS calls this an elastic network interface or ENI.).

This ENI gives us all the connectivity that we need for our virtual machines in the SDDC to communicate with services in an AWS VPC. Additionally, this gateway contains an edge firewall for blocking traffic between the SDDC and outside resources like those within your AWS VPCs or other external networks.

The edge gateway is broken into two parts. The first part is for the management components for your SDDC such as vCenter, Site Recovery appliances, NSX managers, etc. The second part is a firewall for the workloads that are deployed within the SDDC, like your production web servers, for example.

The VMware SDDC console allows you to independently create your own firewall rules to meet your needs, as shown below.

Placement Decisions

The real question isn’t, “Can we connect our resources together?,” but instead changes to a question about which workloads should be placed in the VMware Cloud versus the AWS cloud.

This conversation can go myriad of ways, but a common scenario would be to focus on which applications are critical to the business generating revenue and your own internal development desires. For example, assume you need to move your workloads to the cloud, but many of those applications are just some software you bought from a vendor and live on a server operating system. That old application used by the sales team to store documents is important to the business, but very little development is done on it since it’s purchased from a third party and doesn’t add much value when improved. It’s not worth doing too much to this application, so a quick migration to VMware Cloud on AWS probably makes sense here.

On the other hand, let’s say your corporate web page is updated often and has many moving parts, including sales leads, a shopping cart, and marketing information, and is, therefore, mission-critical to the business. This site is being developed by internal development teams and is the centerpiece to your organization’s money-making strategy. This is an application where breaking it into microservices might make sense so that each part of the application can scale independently. Here we can take advantage of AWS managed services, like CloudFront, S3, ElasticBeanstalk, and others.

The point of the matter is: With VMware Cloud on AWS, you have the flexibility to choose where your workloads will live and decide which applications deserve application development timeand which ones you’re just maintaining.


VMware Cloud on AWS and AWS VPC resources can certainly be used in conjunction with each other. Maybe you split resources up based on licensing needs, maybe you split them up based on your development goals, or maybe you just start testing out new services once you get into the cloud. Either way, VMware Cloud on AWS gives you the flexibility to intermingle these services in the way your organization sees fit. 

If you need help identifying which use cases make sense in VMware Cloud on AWS or on native AWS Services, check out our joint webinar with AWS, “When is VMware Cloud on AWS Right for You?” No time to take a deep dive on use cases in a webinar? Check out my last blog post, “6 Use Cases for VMware Cloud on AWS,” for a high-level view into the platform’s benefits.

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

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