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In This Case Study

Recently, WWT helped a large health services organization migrate to a secure hybrid cloud environment -- all without disrupting normal operations. To achieve this, our hybrid solution featured VMware Cloud (VMC) on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The result was a scalable hybrid cloud environment that is agile and resilient while offering ease of management. Read that case study here

That solution led to this success story, only this time in the energy industry. Read on to learn how we helped an oil and gas customer achieve hybrid cloud migration success, saving millions of dollars in the process.

The challenge

Operational differences and cost inefficiencies

An oil and gas company made a common miscalculation in its attempt at cloud migration: replatforming application workloads that weren't a good fit for cloud-native compute services and changing operational models for the same.

Migrating all workloads to cloud-native compute services did not line up with existing operational processes such as management, security tools and reporting. Even after right-sizing the workloads on cloud-native compute services, the customer was in a position to benefit from a cost perspective if they could somehow control how underlying physical resources were consumed (commonly referred to as oversubscription) for a certain subset of these workloads. 

Additionally, the customer could further benefit from an operational and tooling perspective if that could somehow be accomplished using a software defined ecosystem they were already familiar with.

In short, the customer's original cloud migration strategy for the applications in question might have been the best idea at the time. But cloud migration strategies should be iterative, revisited from time to time to ensure things are being done in the most performant, reliable, secure and cost effective manner given the technology and solutions currently available. 

By helping the customer adopt and migrate to VMC on AWS with Intel architecture, WWT streamlined their transition to the hybrid cloud in a way that allowed them to capitalize on existing skillsets and tools while reducing operational costs and maintaining their desired adjacency to other cloud-native services.

The solution

The latest VMware Cloud on AWS, powered by Intel

For those unfamiliar, VMC on AWS allows organizations to maintain their current software licenses as well as existing skillsets and operational practices as they migrate workloads to the public cloud. 

Using the global footprint of highly resilient AWS facilities can significantly reduce a customer's need for investing in building and maintaining data centers. In addition, customers can take advantage of a vast assortment of AWS cloud-native services encompassing storage, databases, serverless functions, analytics and AI, security and more.

As recently as two years ago this solution would have been unfeasible, owing to technology and cost limitations. But that has all changed now that VMC on AWS is enabled by the new i3en instances featuring second generation Intel Xeon Platinum processors.

These new Amazon EC2 i3en instances can deliver:

  • More power to consolidate demanding application workloads, offering up to 96 vCPUs.
  • Greater storage capacity and performance for data-intensive throughput, using the latest Intel technology and all-NVM Express (NVMe) solid state devices.
  • Up to 50 percent reduced costs for storage-bound workloads over earlier instances.
  • Up to 100 Gbps of sustained network bandwidth, 4X more than previous instances.

For their part, today's compute-dense second generation Intel Xeon Platinum processors contain more cores, 5X more NVMe scalable storage, greater PCIe bandwidth, and up to 4x25 GB NICs versus the previous 1x25 GB NICs. As the two principal ingredients of the VMC on AWS solution, these processors and the i3en nodes are significant for supporting new, storage-heavy workloads such as large-scale databases that previously didn't make sense in the cloud. This development dramatically enhances flexibility when formulating a hybrid cloud strategy.

For example, using the previous technology, the customer would have required 53 of the older i3 nodes, at a cost of almost $6 million over three years. But thanks to these technology advancements, the work would require just 17 i3en instance nodes, leading to a $1.8 million savings over that same period.

Outcomes

WWT began by examining many interconnected elements -- including compliance, security, costs, applications, IT skillsets and experience -- to identify which workloads should migrate to the cloud and which should remain on-premises or move to other locations. Based on our findings, we proposed the most efficient hybrid cloud solution available. 

In this customer example, we utilized the powerful VMware vCenter Converter tool, normally used to convert physical machines into virtual machines without downtime or rebuilding. But in this case, we used it to convert virtual machines on one platform to virtual machines on another, saving significant time and money.

In addition, we tested and validated our customer's solution in our Advanced Technology Center (ATC), demonstrating the benefits to be gained and providing detailed documentation for deployment and operation. We also verified the workability and bottom-line benefits of the proposed VMC on AWS solution based on Intel architecture. We then deployed the solution in just a few weeks, including the ability to scale up or down as needed in minutes.

Benefits scale across industries

To survive and thrive in today's marketplace, organizations need to modernize their data centers. Do so can free IT managers to focus on higher priority initiatives that promote business value instead of getting tied up in day-to-day data center operations. In addition, businesses need a holistic approach to their cloud migration strategy. It's absolutely critical to have experienced guidance to migrate critical workloads correctly and with confidence.

WWT's VMware Cloud on AWS solution is designed to achieve many tangible benefits across a range of industries, including potential savings in both financial costs and time to delivery.

Technologies