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Hybrid Cloud Management

AWS Hybrid Cloud: Use Cases and Tools for Effective Implementation

Enterprise environments can be complex and incorporate a mix of infrastructures, including on-premises data centers, cloud services, and edge networks. By leveraging both cloud and on-premises infrastructures via hybrid cloud management, organizations can support more varied and demanding workloads and take advantage of the scalability of the cloud.

When creating hybrid clouds with AWS services, there are two primary solutions organizations can deploy—VMware Cloud on AWS, AWS Outposts, and AWS Storage Gateway. In this post, we’ll review these solutions and how you can best implement them. Finally, we’ll show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help simplify the migration and management of AWS hybrid cloud environments.

In this article, you will learn:

AWS Hybrid Cloud Architecture

An AWS hybrid architecture has four main pillars: device management, monitoring and auditing, identity management, and hybrid cloud management.

Device Management

This is a service that manages on-premises devices, including compute, networking and storage. It also provides management interfaces for provisioning, managing and monitoring on-premises resources. 

In AWS, this function is often managed by the customer, typically using platforms like VMware vSphere or OpenStack. Organizations can use AWS Systems Manager for tasks like remote control, patch management, and managing an inventory of on-premise infrastructure, and AWS OpsWorks for server automation based on Chef and Puppet.

Monitoring and Auditing

A critical function for the hybrid cloud is to consistently monitor health and produce alerts, logs and audits for compliance purposes. This is made possible by two Amazon services:

  • Amazon CloudWatch - deploys agents both on EC2 instances, on-premises servers, and local virtual machines, and provides rich metrics that can be tracked consistently across the hybrid environment.
  • AWS CloudTrail - enables logging and auditing for governance and compliance purposes. 
  • Amazon CloudWatch Logs - centralize logs from on-premise systems, CloudTrail and AWS services, including EC2 and Route 53 DNS.

Identity, Security and Access Management

AWS Directory Services allow organizations to manage user directories for hybrid clouds, using tools like Amazon Cloud Directory and Microsoft Active Directory. AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Amazon Cognito integrate with identity providers (IdPs) using Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) or Open-ID Connect (OIDC).

Hybrid Cloud Management

AWS Output provides a unified management layer for the hybrid cloud, allowing applications and workloads to consume services like compute, storage, and networking, and making it possible to provision and manage hybrid cloud resources. Outposts provides the same APIs and tools for on-premises and cloud-based Amazon services.

What is VMware Cloud on AWS?

VMware Cloud on AWS is a service offered via a partnership between AWS and VMware. It is an integrated service that enables you to migrate and extend on-premises VMware vSphere-based environments to AWS. It operates via the Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) service on bare-metal servers.

Using VMware Cloud with AWS can provide several benefits, including: 

  • Increased innovation—provides access to over 165 AWS services that can be combined and configured for most purposes. Accessible services include database, compute, Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, machine learning, and security.
  • Reduced costs—enables you to optimize and supplement existing resources as needed. You can save costs since you do not need custom hardware to deploy and can avoid the need to refactor applications. Additionally, you can use VMware’s policy and management tools across your environments, reducing tooling costs and increasing productivity.
  • Enhanced availability—enables you to run VMware workloads on single-tenant, bare-metal EC2 instances in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Because VMware cloud uses single-tenant resources with separate storage, it eliminates the concern that attacks on other tenants can put your data and bandwidth at risk, giving you the highest possible availability of your migrated workloads.

What is AWS Outposts?

Outposts is a fully managed service that enables you to transfer the AWS operating model to any on-premise environment or data center you choose. This transfer includes infrastructure, APIs, support, services, operations, and management tools.

You can deploy a variety of AWS services on Outposts, including AWS Elastic Block Store (AWS EBS), EC2, Elastic Kubernetes Service (EKS), and databases. You can then combine these services with analytics services, such as Amazon EMR.

AWS Outposts can provide several benefits, including:

  • Consistency—you can easily transfer applications built with AWS services between cloud and on-premises environments.
  • Cost savings—pay-as-you-go pricing can enable you to save costs by eliminating up-front and maintenance costs. It also enables you to optimize your resources according to budget.
  • Security—enables you to retain data in your on-premises data centers for greater control. It can also help you meet compliance standards while still providing access to AWS security features.
  • Future-proofing—eases infrastructure upgrades and eliminates concerns created by hardware technical debt. Additionally, Outposts is automatically updated and patched by AWS, reducing concerns for dropped vendor support.

What is AWS Storage Gateway?

AWS Storage Gateway is an on-premises storage solution that you can use to create a hybrid environment. It enables you to smoothly integrate Amazon cloud storage services with existing on-prem systems. You have the option to deploy this solution as either a hardware appliance or a virtual machine.

Once you deploy Storage Gateway, you can use it to connect your on-premises systems to a range of AWS services, including EBS, S3, and Glacier. You can also use it to enable access from AWS to your on-site resources. For example, you can connect monitoring, logging, or machine learning services and apply these services to on-premises data.

Storage Gateway uses standard access protocols for easy integration and supports SMB, NFS, and iSCSI environments. It also uses local caching, enabling you to store frequently accessed cloud data on site for lower latency use. Learn more in our AWS Storage Gateway: Connecting Your On-Premise Storage to the Amazon Cloud blog.

4 AWS Hybrid Cloud Use Cases

There are multiple reasons an organization might adopt a hybrid cloud infrastructure. The most common use cases for hybrid cloud deployments include:

  1. Extending data centers—enables you to integrate on-premises tools and resources for storage, security, networking, and access control with the cloud. You can use cloud resources for scalability, backup, and disaster recovery strategies, or to gain access to improved processing power.
  2. On-premises cloud services—gain cloud benefits for workloads that must be maintained on-premises. For example, those with local data processing, low-latency, or legacy architecture requirements.
  3. VMware cloud migration—enables you to reduce technical debt associated with VMware investments through enhancement with cloud availability and scaling. The partnership between the two companies also enables easier migration between environments.
  4. Increased software compatibility—enables you to maintain and operate a broader range of services and applications. It can also enable you to space out your migration of data and applications, adapting assets over time and moving or retiring as needed. This is particularly useful for Windows-based, Oracle database, or SAP HANA workloads.

Hybrid Cloud Storage on AWS with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports up to a capacity of 368TB, and supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload.

In particular, Cloud Volumes ONTAP provides Cloud Manager, a UI and APIs for management, automation and orchestration, supporting hybrid & multi-cloud architectures.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager