Migrating workloads to the public cloud isn’t always easy. And if you want to take full advantage of the elasticity, economics, and innovation of the cloud, you often have to write a new application. But that isn’t always an option, especially for existing applications, especially those critical to your business or those written years ago. So, the question becomes: how can these critical applications take advantage of the cloud when you don’t have a clear path to rearchitecting them outright?
Here at Google Cloud, we recently launched the general availability of Google Cloud VMware Engine, allowing you to seamlessly migrate your existing VMware-based applications to Google Cloud without refactoring or rewriting them. In this blog, we’ll discuss how you can get started and take advantage of this managed service to reduce your burden and get started on your cloud journey.
Where to Begin?
First, what about the compute, storage, and networking technologies used on the cloud platform versus what you are using on-premises? Are there hidden incompatibilities that could break?
- Does the cloud platform have the legacy OS and support application versions you need?
- Will you have to adapt or change your existing customized backup, monitoring, security, compliance, etc., processes to be operational in the cloud?
- Will you have to retrain your technical staff to acquire new skills for running in the cloud?
The good news is that there are tools that make migration to the cloud easy.
We’ve developed Google Cloud VMware Engine as an easy way to seamlessly migrate to the cloud without the cost or complexity of refactoring applications. This means you can run and manage workloads on the cloud the same way you currently run your on-premises environment. Your VMware workloads will run in Google Cloud’s reliable and high performance environment in harmony with your existing on-premises tools, policies, and processes.
VMware Engine makes migration easy because it gives you a full stack of compute, storage, and networking technology that is compatible with your VMware on-premises environment. And because it is VMware based, you can leverage all the existing automation strategies and tools that you are already using. Which means no need to retrain your IT staff—they already have all the skills they need, with lots of opportunities to learn new skills.
Google Cloud VMware Engine integrates an on-premises
VMware vSphere stack natively with a dedicated, private cloud.
Assessment is the first step of the migration process. Start out with building an inventory of your applications and sort them into different buckets based on priority and application affinity considerations. Tools like Stratozone and CloudPhysics can help with the discovery process and give you an estimate of the number of VMware Engine nodes needed for your applications.
Building out the target landing zone infrastructure in Google Cloud VMware Engine is the next critical step. This includes first deciding on an organization and project structure that dictates access control to VMware resources. Creating private clouds, deciding on number and size of vSphere clusters, setting up infrastructure services (DNS, DHCP etc.) within your environment, designing network connectivity for your private cloud (including network connectivity to on-premise, internet and network firewall rules to control traffic flow), and configuring identity source for Private Cloud vSphere are some of the main design decisions.
Designing network architecture (subnets, reachability, firewalls etc.) for applications in the target VMware environment along with formalizing architecture for VM/application backups and monitoring (both Infra and app monitoring) are some of the next set of decisions you need to make.
Now you’re ready to start moving workloads to Google Cloud VMware Engine. Migration is primarily a lift & shift (re-hosting) of your vSphere virtual machines to a vSphere target environment in the private cloud, and is a typical VM-2-VM migration. You will also need a way to move your file data to the Google Cloud Platform.
Here are the three main strategies to consider for migrating your applications from on-premises to Google Cloud VMware Engine:
1. Use specialized migration tools (VMware HCX)
HCX is a SaaS service from VMware that enables large scale workload migrations across any VMware platforms (vSphere 5.0+) including migrations between on-premises vSphere and Google Cloud VMware Engine.
HCX enables bi-directional migrations independent of vSphere SSO domains, vSphere versions, hardware or network. It enables migrations requiring no replatforming of the workloads or applications including no changes to IP or MAC addresses, VM UUID and certs and offers users a choice in migration methodologies (cold, warm, live) to meet their workload SLA.
An HCX subscription is included in your Google Cloud VMware Engine subscription and provides HCX licenses for both your on-premise site as well as the private cloud.
2. Use off-the-shelf DR/Orchestration tools
Using any data replication technology that can work with vSAN as a target alongside a DR orchestration tool, you can perform failovers to migrate your workloads from on-premise to Google Cloud VMware Engine. Built-in vSphere replication and VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) as well as backup and disaster recovery tools from our partners, Actifio, VVeeam, and Zerto and Actifio are some examples.
For migrating databases like MS SQL server, Oracle, and others, users can also leverage built-in clustering/data replication technologies like DB clustering & cutover.
3. Use the built-in features of vSphere
You can use the vSphere content library to store and share OVF templates, VMTX templates, ISOs, scripts, and text files. You can publish content from your on-premises content library and subscribe to it from the content library in the Google Cloud VMware Engine private cloud. You can subsequently choose to transfer all images from on-prem to the cloud right away, or do it only as needed. The images can optionally be stored using any NFS/SMB storage service for Google Cloud VMware Engine.
You can also re-use existing standardized images/templates to create new VMs in the GCVE environment. And you can create OVAs from existing on-prem VMs, and then deploy these in GCVE post transfer.
After you have migrated your application, you may want to migrate your data to the cloud to reduce latency and response times for your applications.
To migrate data (file, backup, archive etc.), you can use any industry standard tool that works with Google Cloud Platform, or use GCP services like Transfer Service for On-prem and GCP Transfer Appliance.
Once the migrated data is uploaded to Google Cloud Storage it can be accessed and consumed by your applications running within VMware VMs in Google Cloud.
Moving to the cloud doesn’t have to be hard. By migrating your VMware platform to Google Cloud, you can keep what you like about your on-prem application environment, and tap into next generation hardware and application services. To learn more about Google Cloud VMware Engine, check out our website. If you’re ready to get started, check out our Getting Started guide.