Private Cloud Platforms comparison & reviews

Summary
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2nd 4th 3rd
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by John Gallucci by John Gallucci
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  • Fully Supported
  • Limitation
  • Not Supported
  • Information Only
Pros
  • + Full-Fledged IaaS
  • + Mature Vendor
  • + Enterprise Solution
  • + Strong Storage Capability with Additional Compute and Networking Functionality
  • + Vendor Maturity and Market-share
  • + Simple and Straightforward Editions
  • + Mature on-prem IaaS solution
  • + High-fidelity implementation of AWS APIs
  • + Proven at scale over years of operation
Cons
  • - Complex
  • - Little PaaS Capability
  • - Heavily Dependent on Underlying Hardware
  • - Limited Capability
  • - Few Use Cases
  • - Temporary
  • - Recent acquisition concerns
  • - No administrative GUI
  • - Missing features beyond API compatability
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Content Creator
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Overview
VMware Cloud Foundation is an integrated software stack which bundles VMware components (see details)
The AWS Snowball Edge is a type of Snowball device with on-board storage and compute power for select AWS capabilities. (see details)
Integrated software stack with AWS-compatible IaaS services.
  Assessment  
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Maturity
VMware is a strong contender in the marketplace and VCF is comprised of components that have been tried and tested in the datacenter
Snowball Edge was announced 2016 and builds on AWS which has been around since 2012
Based on the Eucalyptus code-base that has been in production for over a decade, powering installations beyond 200K cores in size.
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Disconnected Offering
VMware Cloud Foundation can be deployed on premises as a stack for a private cloud
Must connect back to AWS platform for full functionality
Can be deployed in a disconnected environment
Infrastructure Services expand
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  Compute  
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Virtual servers
VMware Cloud Foundation bundles vSphere which includes the ESXi virtualization platform for creating and running virtual machines and virtual appliances
Virtual servers are called EC2 instances
Virtual servers are called cloud instances (equivalent to EC2 instances in AWS)
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VM Type - General Purpose
You can configure the virtual machine hardware to take advantage of the underlying hosts hardware
The SBE1 EC2 instance is the general purpose offering
Virtual machine hardware can be configured to take full advantage of the underlying hosts hardware. A collection of instance types can be customized in terms of vCPUs, memory, and disk.
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VM Type - Compute Optimized
You can configure the virtual machine hardware to take advantage of the underlying hosts hardware. For compute optimized instances, you would increase the CPU resources
The SBE-C EC2 instance is the compute optimized offering
Compute-optimized instance types can be customized by modifying the instance type
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VM Type - Memory Optimized
You can configure the virtual machine hardware to take advantage of the underlying hosts hardware. For memory optimized instances, you would increase the memory resources
There is no memory optimized offering
Memory-optimized instance types can be customized by modifying the instance type
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VM Type - Accelerated (GPU)
You can configure the virtual machine hardware to take advantage of the underlying hosts GPU hardware
The SBE-G EC2 instance is the accelerated GPU offering
GPU instance types can be customized through advanced configuration only. No official documentation.
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Metadata URL
There is no built-in way to access this functionality. (see details)
You get access to a subset of metadata typically available to EC2 instances through an internal URL
Metadata URL, featuring EC2-compatible information and thus compatible with cloud-init, is reachable from instances.
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Rapid Provisioning
You can easily deploy VMs using a wizard, template, or cloning another VM
You can specify the job and resources and Amazon will configure the device for you and ship it out to you
System components enable fast provisioning, particularly of EBS-backed instances.
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Resize existing VM
You can easily resize an existing VM by changing its virtual hardware after creation such as CPU and memory
Typically resize an instance using CLI modify-instance-attribute on instanceType attribute but Snowball Edge only allows you to modify userdata
EBS-backed instances can be resized after stopping by modifying InstanceType attribute via ModifyInstanceAttribute request (in CLI or Console).
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Resource Management
Resources can be managed from either the vSphere Web Client or the vSphere Client
Resources such as EC2 instances cannot be managed through the console after the device is created and must instead be managed through the CLI/API adding a level of complexity
Resources can be managed from either the Console or CLI/API
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Scalability
There is no vSphere functionality to easily scale up or down VMs from the console
A cluster of 5-10 Snowball Edges can be created to offer increased durability and locally scale up or down storage on demand
AWS AutoScaling APIs are supported, with performance-based triggers for up- and down-scaling.
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VM Imaging
You can clone a virtual machine to a template which can then be used to deploy other virtual machines later
No mention in the developer guide
Images (akin to AMIs and AKIs) can be created and shared with other cloud users. Existing instances can be saved into an image.
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VM Import/Export
You can import and export virtual machines in the OVF and OVA formats
No mention in the developer guide
Instances can be imported using raw disk or VHD formats. Exports done manually at hypervisor level. No API support for the operation exists.
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VM live migration
You can perform a live migration of a virtual machine without affecting availability, called a hot migration, using vMotion
AWS does not support live VM migration and as such we shouldnt expect Snowball Edge to do this
VMs can be live-migrated using CLI / API. In the event of a host failure instances to not automatically restart.
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VM to host affinity
You can create VM to host affinity rules within a DRS cluster
When deploying a cluster, you can select which nodes an instance runs on
Not supported. Can only be achieved by backend administration using instance migration.
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VM to host anti-affinity
You can create VM to host anti-affinity rules within a DRS cluster
When deploying a cluster, you can select which nodes an instance runs on thus also choosing which nodes it does not run on
Not supported. Can only be achieved by backend administration using instance migration.
  Networking  
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Cloud virtual networking
VMware Cloud Foundation bundles NSX Data Center for vSphere which provides a platform programmatically managing software-defined virtual networks
The EC2 instances can have virtual network interfaces attached to them which allows them to communicate with each other and outside devices
Overlays a virtual network on top of your existing network. Supports EDGE (EC2 Classic) and VPCMIDO (AWS VPC) modes.
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Cross-premises connectivity
The VCF platform is integrated into the customer datacenter and provides cross-premises connectivity to other customer networks
The Snowball Edge connects into the datacenter and allows for transfer of data between the datacenter and AWS albeit in a slow snail-mail fashion
Support for AWS VPN Gateway is available but only when using VPCMIDO network mode.
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DNS hostname resolution
You can install NSX Edge as an Edge Services Gateway (ESG) between networks which will then allow you to configure external DNS servers. (see details)
No mention in the developer guide
DNS names for VM instances is supported automatically
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DNS zone management
No mention in documentation. Functionality would need to be built up by the end-user and then VMware components can take advantage of it
No mention in the developer guide
No mention in the documentation
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IP reassignment
You can statically set an VMs IP address from vSphere as well as specify a network protocol which is a pool of IPv4 and IPv6 addresses that vCenter will assign to virtual machines
You can delete the virtual network interface attached to an EC2 instance and then create a new virtual network interface for that EC2 instance with a new static IP address
Elastic IP and Elastic Network Interface functionality enables flexible IP address assignment.
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Load balancing
You can install NSX Edge as an Edge Services Gateway (ESG) and take advantage of the logical load balancer
No mention in the developer guide
Elastic Load Balancer is an included service.
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Network Interfaces
Virtual machines can have a variety of different network adapters added and configured
The device has a set of external network interfaces for connectivity into the customer datacenter (see details)
Elastic Network Interface functionality allows attaching and detaching of virtual NICs to instances
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Outbound Network Connectivity
You can connect virtual machines to the physical network
The device has a set of external network interfaces for connectivity into the customer datacenter (see details)
Can be configured to connect to external networks with both EDGE (EC2 Classic) and VPCMIDO (Amazon VPC) networking modes.
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Public IP Address
You can connect virtual machines to the physical network
Can attach a virtual network interface to your EC2 instance and specify a public IP address for use
Public IP addresses can be assigned to instances either automatically or from a pool of Elastic IP addresses.
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SR-IOV support
There is a specific network adapter type (SR-IOV passthrough) designed to enable and support SR-IOV networking
No mention in the developer guide
Can be customized to use SR-IOV for instance networking by advanced configuration only. No official documentation.
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VM Security Groups
Virtual Machines can be added to a security group which has a specific network security policy applied to it
Security groups exist and can be configured for EC2 instances similar to the way they work in AWS with limitations
Instances can be added to a security group which has a specific network security policy applied to it.
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Virtual Network Peering
You can set up cross-vCenter deployments as well as implement VPNs to access corporate and other cloud networks securely
Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs) are not supported in Snowball Edge and thus you cannot make virtual networks to peer
Ability to create a peering connection between two VPCs is supported.
  Storage  
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Object storage
No mention in the documentation
The Snowball Edge supports S3 (object storage) as its primary purpose is downloading customer data from a remote datacenter which can then later be transferred to S3 in AWS
Supports S3-compatible object storage using its Object Storage Gateway (OSG)
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Block storage
vSphere provides a variety of different storage options and functionalities
Block storage must exist as the Snowball Edge is capable of hosting EC2 instances but end-users have no access to block storage and cannot attach volumes themselves to EC2 instances
Elastic Block Storage (EBS) provides block-level storage volumes that you can attach to instances.
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Shared file storage
VMWare provides NFS but not SMB storage solutions
Once connected to the datacenter, the S3 Adapter for Snowball or NFS mount point can be used to upload data from the datacenter into the Snowball Edge
Shared file storage is not supported.
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Backup
VCF provides backup and restore capability of components
By its nature, the device offers data backup for data stored within a datacenter albeit in a slower process
Procedures for backing up and restoring everything except root disks of instance-store (ephemeral) instances are documented.
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Local Data Protection
Virtual Volumes support replication capabilities for disaster recovery
The Snowball Edge employs defense-in-depth for data protection including a ruggedized tamper-reistant enclosure, 256-bit encrpytion, and a TPM
Relies on replication features of underlying software and hardware (RAID and Ceph) for local data protection from hardware failures.
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