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VMware Cloud

VMware Cloud Case Studies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

Hybrid cloud deployment is becoming increasingly indispensable for enterprise IT. When it comes to VMware deployments, VMware Cloud (VMC) enables companies to embrace the hybrid cloud strategy by extending their existing virtual data centers into the public cloud. While this can be achieved without major changes to underlying applications and infrastructure, there are challenges, which may prevent the storage layer from performing optimally.

In this blog post we’ll explore VMware Cloud services, capabilities, and limitations, and see how Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s storage management has enhanced VMware Cloud workloads in several VMware Cloud case studies. Jump right down to the case studies here.

VMware Cloud at a Glance

VMWare Cloud Foundation takes VMware’s hyper-converged software-defined data center (SDCC) storage, CPU, and network components and combines it with the cloud. In this way, VMware technologies are pooled, virtualized, and made readily available in both on-prem and cloud-based deployments. 

The SDDC can be deployed on-premises, in the public cloud, or in a hybrid cloud architecture. It offers deployment options for VMC on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud that run on bare-metal infrastructure belonging to each respective cloud provider.

This enables on-premises VMware workloads and VMware storage to extend to the cloud while continuing to use their existing on-premises VMware use cases. In this way, workloads can benefit from cloud-native services, such as Amazon Redshift, Amazon S3, Azure Analytics, Office 365, and Google Cloud’s machine learning and data analytics capabilities.

VMware Cloud Storage Challenges

There are several challenges that come with using VMware Cloud: 

  • Complex migration: Migrating VMware workloads to the cloud can require complicated changes in application design and underlying architecture.
  • High costs due to inflexible resource allocation: Compute, memory, and storage are all integrated within hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) hosts. In workloads with large data sets, many HCI hosts will be required just to meet storage demands, with compute and memory over-provisioned.
  • Limited storage capacity: Customers are limited to a total of 10.1 TiB of raw local storage per VSAN node. This storage space is further constrained by a mandatory amount of space required to remain unused and by Failure To Tolerate (FTT) settings.
  • Data management support features: Enterprise deployments require additional data protection, high availability, and data replication features.

VMware Case Studies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

To help alleviate the challenges of operating in the cloud with VMware Cloud’s HCI, users can opt to deploy VMware Cloud with Cloud Volumes ONTAP as the data management layer for their public cloud resources.

Let’s take a look at some customer success stories to learn how Cloud Volumes ONTAP data management features address storage challenges.

Global Information Company “Lifts and Shifts” Workloads to VMware Cloud on AWS 

This company is a leading global information company that provides major industries and markets with analytics and solutions. It employs thousands of workers, including analysts, data scientists, and financial experts, and caters to multiple sectors worldwide such as energy, finance and transportation. 

The company recently decided to migrate to the public cloud. This task was projected to take several years due to its 500 software products delivered to their customers. To accelerate this process, the company decided to lift and shift their workloads using VMware Cloud on AWS.

After migration, the company encountered challenges in managing its data. For example, although the company’s compute needs were modest, their large storage led to purchasing of unnecessary compute resources, because of VMC’s fixed storage to compute ratio.  

The team began using Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s advanced storage capabilities to manage its data with greater flexibility at a lower cost. This helped them:

  • Scale storage without affecting compute capacity.
  • Seamlessly migrate with SnapMirror®.
  • Simplify complex volume provisioning and file restoration processes into one-click operations.
  • Automate storage workflows through Cloud Manger’s APIs.
  • Back up unstructured data with Cloud Backup Service.

A Fujitsu Client Reduces Costs Substantially with a Flexible Configuration 

A Fortune 500 information technology giant, Fujitsu is the fourth-largest IT services provider in the world. It aids its clients with systems integration and managed services, and supports deployments on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid or multi-cloud architectures. 

One of Fujitsu’s customers, a large financial company, has a sizable VMC on AWS deployment which was driving up costs. Fujitsu found an ideal solution for this problem in Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

Fujitsu incorporated a Cloud Volumes ONTAP AWS HA configuration into two VMware SDDCs, offloading hundreds of TBs of storage from the HCI used by VMware.

By using Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the company was able to: 

  • Access cloud-native AWS services such as EC2 and EBS directly and flexibly.
  • Decouple and optimize compute and storage.
  • Meet their business requirements while using 30% fewer VMC on AWS hosts.
  • Reduce costs by $3 million over a three-year period.
  • Ensure business continuity using the dual-instance high availability configuration.
  • Replicate, sync, and protect all data to a secondary DR copy.

Read more about this customer story here.

Enhanced Data Protection in the Cloud for a Personal Genomics and Biotechnology Company

The privately held personal genomics and biotechnology company generates genetic reports about customer ancestry and genetic predispositions. Based on laboratory analysis of saliva samples, customers receive information about their ancestry composition, traits, maternal and paternal haplogroups, and can even use their genetic information to track down relatives.

The company wanted to improve the data protection of their VMware environments and NAS shares. In addition, it discovered that its AWS EBS storage costs were very high, and sought a way to reduce expenses.

By using Cloud Volumes ONTAP HA (high availability) for AWS, the company was able to successfully: 

  • Migrate 20TB to Cloud Volumes ONTAP.
  • Dramatically reduce costs with Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s automatic data tiering capabilities and storage efficiency features.
  • Data encryption in-transit with SnapMirror.
  • Simplify off-site data protection with SnapMirror technology.

Migrating and Orchestrating Hybrid Cloud Architecture at the US Department of Energy 

The US Department of Energy runs a renewable energy lab that specializes in optimizing energy systems. Its R&D work drives innovation in transportation sustainability, efficient energy, and renewable sources of power, working with multiple governmental, industrial and academic institutions. 

The lab’s outdated disk-based systems were consuming a lot of power, creating performance bottlenecks and constraining storage space. The team looked for a solution that could modernize its data center to better meet its scalability, archival and performance requirements.

Using NetApp AFF and Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the lab established an all-flash tier for its mission-critical applications and VMware deployments, and seamlessly migrated workloads and backup to AWS. This hybrid architecture has led to several benefits, including:

  • Backup is managed centrally through Cloud Manager’s single-pane interface.
  • Backup time is reduced from 12 hours to 40 minutes.
  • Rapid point-in-time data restoration with NetApp Snapshot™ technology.
  • Lower storage costs with Cloud Volumes ONTAP built-in storage efficiency features.
  • NetApp data fabric enables flexible storage access.
  • NAS and SAN access to the entire storage pool.

A Final Note

VMware Cloud is an excellent solution for hybrid and multicloud architectures. However, its hyper-converged architecture limits storage space and ties it with compute resources. This hinders flexibility and can dramatically rack up cloud costs. In addition, VMware deployments can benefit from additional data management features such as backup, security, and high availability.

As these VMware Cloud case studies have shown, many companies have already applied Cloud Volumes ONTAP’s capabilities to their VMware deployments, improving their multicloud and hybrid architectures with considerable benefits such as enhanced performance, boosted automation, and lowered storage costs.

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Yifat Perry, Technical Content Manager

Technical Content Manager