Analyzing VMware vCHS for the cloud consumer

In direct competition with Amazon's IaaS, VMware vCloud Hybrid Service differentiates itself from the pack with several features.

VMware vCloud Hybrid Service is the vendor's attempt at enabling cloud consumers to have an infrastructure as a

service (IaaS) option that works natively with its private cloud deployments. The service, vCHS for short, was introduced August 2013.

As with many IaaS providers, potential customers can use VMware for multiple use cases. Most common are production legacy application deployments, cloud-scale applications, test and development, and sandbox environments. Because VMware has gone through compliance audits such as HIPAA and HITECH, even the highly regulated healthcare vertical can use VMware vCHS and pass audits.

Because VMware has gone through compliance audits such as HIPAA and HITECH, even the highly regulated healthcare vertical can use VMware vCHS and pass audits.

The unique thing about the use case discussion is that even though VMware does follow a swipe-of-the-credit-card mentality, its public cloud service fits closely into more traditional IT cost models. Instead of having pay-per-use, with hourly or daily swings in costs that can become cumbersome to deal with, VMware uses a fixed-cost model. For example, compute resources -- 1230 GB vRAM, 30 GHz CPU -- costs $5,978 per month. It depends on your company to determine if this is a benefit, simplifying the chargeback/showback process, or a downfall.

There are five areas where vCHS provides unique features for cloud consumers.

  1. VMware vCHS consumption model. VMware has devised a consumption model that is not per virtual machine (VM) or per vCPU/vMem like many of its competitors. Instead, vCHS is based on two models: a dedicated cloud or a virtual private cloud (VPC). The dedicated cloud is a dedicated single-tenant infrastructure stack that is completely isolated from other cloud tenants with dedicated security, performance and capacity. A VPC is a logically segregated cloud based on a multi-tenant platform, and it can be purchased by vCPU, vMEM and storage as one large reserved resource pool.
  2. Operating system support. The VMware vCHS OS support matrix follows VMware's existing vSphere OS support matrix. Therefore, vCHS has to-date the largest supported number of operating systems among cloud providers. This allows for the most flexibility for consumers, depending on what their cloud needs are.
  3. The vCHS data center plan. VMware has developed a unique data center plan that is based on a franchise model. VMware does not own the data centers on which vCHS is hosted. Instead, VMware partners with companies, such as Savvis. This means VMware doesn't have to focus on the physical build out and can focus on growing the vCHS cloud offerings, which may mean advancements for consumers.
  4. Disaster recovery as a service. VMware vCHS recently introduced disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) based on the VMware vSphere Replication toolset. This allows organizations the ability to not just run their VMs in vCHS, but also to replicate and restart their non-cloud VMs in vCHS.
  5. Native management from VMware vCenter and vCloud suite. Another differentiator of vCHS is their plug-ins for vCenter and integration into the vCloud Suite. This makes it easy in particular for existing VMware vSphere customers, because vCHS can be easily managed from their existing vCenter, vCAC or vCloud Director environments.

VMware has some stiff competition in the cloud market. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Microsoft Azure, Google Compute Engine and Rackspace are all competitors that are based on non-VMware cloud models. These organizations are defined more by the pay-as-you-go model.

Other competitors have VMware-based clouds, such as Peak10, iLand, Bluelock and Hosting.com, among others. Ironically, many of the VMware-based cloud models have actually been around longer than the VMware's own vCHS and have different offerings available that may or may not be a better fit for your company.

About the author:
Brad Maltz is in the CTO office of Lumenate, a national technical consulting firm focused on data center, security, end user experience and cloud technologies. He holds certifications from VMware and EMC for many technologies including being VCDX #36 and a vExpert.

This was first published in May 2014

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