Amid tougher economic conditions, it’s time to take another look at cloud migration. To what extent can IT organisations accelerate the process of shifting to a hybrid cloud environment? How can they minimise downtime and capitalise upon existing on-premises investments?

Migrating infrastructure, applications and operations to the cloud can become a substantial challenge, involving downtime and the need to re-factor applications. Migration also requires skills that may well be in short supply.

VMware Cloud on AWS, built on Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors, is purpose-built to deliver operational consistency and efficiency across all your VMware workloads. The solution, jointly engineered by VMware, the leading private cloud vendor, and AWS, the largest public cloud provider, offers enterprises a simplified and accelerated route to the hybrid cloud.

VMware Cloud on AWS delivers VMware Software-Defined Data Centers as an infrastructure service (IaaS). Beneath the hood, VMware Cloud on AWS integrates vSphere, VMware vSAN, NSX and vCenter management, all of which run on dedicated, elastic, bare-metal AWS infrastructure.

VMware Cloud on AWS allows you to reduce costs while scaling to meet your global business demand. You can further increase the value of your enterprise applications by leveraging over 200 AWS services to modernise existing applications or build new ones.

For customers focused on migration, VMware Cloud on AWS allows migration of virtualised applications without refactoring. According to research from Enterprise Strategy Group, refactoring a single VM and migrating it to the public cloud takes 27 days on average. The maths are forbidding: using this yardstick, it could take the average enterprise 7.4 years to migrate 100 applications to the public cloud.

For the UK-based gaming company William Hill, the way that VMware Cloud on AWS accelerated application migration was a decisive factor.

Using VMware Cloud on AWS, the company was able to migrate some workloads – around one-third in the first wave – to the public cloud immediately. This resulted in immediate cost savings and left the company’s IT team free to devise specific approaches to migrating the rest of the company’s hundreds of applications. Two years later, William Hill shifted the bulk of those second wave applications across to AWS.

In both waves, VMware Cloud on AWS offered the same potential to manage migration flexibly.

“Instead of refactoring every application at the same time and moving them to AWS, we could choose the strategy that was most effective for each,” says Ben Fairclough, lead architect of cloud and infrastructure at William Hill.

“We could migrate quickly using VMware Cloud on AWS or rebuild natively on AWS where appropriate.”

Now, over 80 percent of William Hill’s applications run on AWS.

The second major benefit of VMware Cloud on AWS is the way it allows IT organisations to leverage existing tools, processes and knowledge. For example, operations teams can also retain all existing VMware provisioning, storage and lifecycle policies. Staff can use the same familiar VMware interfaces to test, run and manage applications across private and public cloud.

In addition, VMware Cloud on AWS also introduces a valuable element of flexibility on Day Two and beyond. After migration, enterprises are free to automate infrastructure operations on AWS and to leverage cloud native frameworks such as Kubernetes — at a speed that suits them.

This ability to leverage existing investments while exploiting the potential of the public cloud appealed to Stagecoach, the UK’s largest bus and coach operator. Having identified a need for agility and speed-to-market in order to appeal to customers and compete successfully with new rivals, Stagecoach was attracted to the accelerated migration potential VMware Cloud on AWS.

“We had a load-tested production environment up and running within 3 weeks and we were moving data in there immediately,” says Sam Akroyd, formerly technical services manager at Stagecoach. “In comparison with anything on-premises, or even hosting within a private cloud, we’d probably be looking at six weeks just to order equipment. Working with AWS really adds the agility that our team needs.”

A consistent environment like VMware Cloud on AWS, stretching across on-premises and public cloud, simplifies and accelerates migration, reducing the traditional challenges of management, tooling and skills. The result is a fast track to exploiting the potential of hybrid cloud operations.