Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced this week it will make available instances of its IT infrastructure available in on-premises IT environments, which it will then manage on behalf of customers. The announcement was made at its AWS re:Invent 2018 conference.
AWS CEO Andy Jassy said AWS Outposts platforms, scheduled to be available in 2019, will come in two flavors: one will run the same stack of software AWS uses to manage its public cloud, while the other will be based on the software stack VMware currently makes available on the AWS cloud.
VMware announced it will make available a managed service of its own for AWS Outposts based on its entire platform stack, in addition to making its management and networking software in the form of VMware Cloud Foundation available on instance of AWS EC2. That move represents a significant expansion of the VMware approach to hybrid cloud computing because AWS EC2 is based on the open source Kernel-based virtual machine (KVM) rather than the VMware hypervisor.
Regardless of path chosen, each Outposts platform will function as an extension of the Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) service, with connectivity being provided via the closest AWS Region located to that on-premises platform. Both Amazon VPC and AWS Outposts will be tied into the AWS Control Tower service to create a common management plane.
After years of making the case for moving all workloads into the public cloud, Jassy admitted this week that there are instances when performance and compliance concerns will result in some workloads never moving to the public cloud. In response to demand from customers who want to be able to deploy and manage the same infrastructure on-premises as they have in the cloud, Jassy said AWS is now committing to making racks of systems available via an AWS managed service.
The challenge DevOps teams will now face is determining the degree to which they will want to integrate their DevOps processes with managed services provided by AWS, VMware or any number of third-party service providers. In some cases, DevOps teams may simply decide that additional layer of management adds to much complexity. In other cases, the decision might lean more toward allocating more resources to application development, as IT operations spanning hybrid clouds become more of an automated service provided by an external vendor.
Heading into 2019, it appears the specious debate over public clouds versus on-premises IT environments is coming to an end. Not only will there be workloads running in both environments for the foreseeable future, but a recent study conducted by International Data Corp. (IDC) notes that 80 percent of IT organizations surveyed have repatriated workloads back into on-premises IT environments from public clouds. To make matters even more complex, a whole new generation of so-called cloud-native applications based on microservices enabled by containers running on Kubernetes clusters is adding even more complexity to IT environments.
The goal, of course, is to make modern businesses more agile. The irony is that achieving that goal appears to requires paradoxically making IT environments more complex than ever.