VMware and Amazon Web Services have developed a hybrid cloud solution that will make it easier and more cost-effective for Federal agencies to move mission critical workloads into public clouds such as AWS, pending FedRAMP authority to operate.

The VMware Cloud will run on Amazon Web Services (AWS) GovCloud (US). This will allow public sector agencies to leverage a common cloud infrastructure on premises and in the public cloud, providing agencies with greater agility and security, according to officials from the two companies. The companies announced the hybrid solution today at the AWS Public Sector Summit being held in Washington, D.C.

VMware cloud software infrastructure and virtualization technologies are widely deployed by cabinet-level agencies, all military services, the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, and the judicial and legislative branches of government. VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud (US) will be based on the same technologies, providing agencies a faster and seamless ramp to the cloud.

“One of the biggest challenges government agencies have had in migrating workloads to the public cloud has been application dependencies and, in some cases, rewriting the applications to work effectively inside the Amazon solution,” Bill Rowan, vice president of Federal sales with VMware, told MeriTalk.

“In many cases, the applications and workloads are already virtualized on a VMware environment on premise,” Rowan said, noting that many Federal agencies use the VMware Cloud to build private cloud infrastructures. Information technology (IT) managers can now move applications and workloads no differently than they would move workloads from one of their existing datacenters to another active datacenter, Rowan explained.

“So, it is really taking a lot of the struggles and complexity” out of transitioning workloads to the public cloud. In fact, when IT managers look at their VMware vRealize management tools, they will see a pop-down menu that allows them to deploy workloads inside Amazon’s GovCloud. So, literally from the same desktop environment used to manage their internal infrastructure, they will have the ability to deploy and move resources to the AWS GovCloud once FedRAMP accreditation is approved, Rowan said.

Agencies will be able to benefit from the FedRAMP-compliant services already offered by the AWS GovCloud. However, the VMware Cloud is also going through FedRAMP accreditation with the sponsorship of three agencies, Rowan noted. The VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud should be FedRAMP-ready by the middle of the summer.

The hybrid solution will help spur the transition of more functional and mission-critical workloads to the public cloud, Rowan noted. So far, most agencies have only moved test and development-type systems, or those that haven’t required a lot of mitigation or migration services, which can be costly.

No Re-architecting Needed

VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud will allow “agencies to augment existing IT infrastructure capacity, enhance continuity of operations and disaster recovery, and facilitate faster application development and testing operations, without re-architecting for new infrastructure or retraining personnel on net-new technologies, tools, and processes,” said Lynn Martin, vice president and general manager, Government, Education and Healthcare with VMware.

“As government agencies increasingly move workloads to the cloud, the ability to seamlessly integrate VMware software applications with AWS helps simplify the IT modernization journey for our customers,” Teresa Carlson, vice president, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services, Inc., said in a statement.

“With a hybrid cloud solution, agencies are able to quickly ramp up and start reaping the many benefits of VMware Cloud on AWS while still adhering to required security and compliance standards,” Carlson said.

Momentum for Federal cloud adoption has gotten a boost from initiatives and legislation such as the Modernizing Government Technology (MGT) Act, which provides agencies with flexible sources of working capital funds to securely modernize IT systems, according to Adelaide O’Brien, research director with IDC Government Insights.

“By providing flexibility and bi-directional portability of workloads between data centers and the cloud, VMware will enable government clients to more easily migrate to cloud without format conversions, as well as retain optimizations and integrations, all while transparently extending the enterprise datacenter to the cloud.”

VMware Cloud on AWS GovCloud (US) will be delivered, sold, and supported by VMware and its channel partners as an on-demand cloud service, running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). The hybrid solution will be powered by VMware Cloud Foundation, the unified software-defined data center (SDDC) platform that integrates vSphere, VMware vSAN, and VMware NSX virtualization technologies.

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