Your VMware migration strategy–how to save up to 50% in TCO

SADA Says | Cloud Computing Blog

By Forrest Burrows | SADA Solutions Engineer

This might sound crazy, but moving your VMware private cloud to a private cloud in the public cloud can save you money. In fact, every VMware migration strategy should include an emphasis on reducing costs.

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through that scary place where VMware migration meets costs, and I promise you’ll come out the other side unscathed.

Calculating your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) on your VMware Environment is a challenge in itself, but it’s the best place to start when you’re trying to keep costs as low as possible. Businesses are looking at licenses and pricing and considering myriad alternatives. When you’re working with virtual machines, you want to make sure you’re adopting the best pricing structure for your needs.

Businesses migrating virtual machines and VMware products with Google Cloud solutions and services

You will be pretty close to your TCO if you add up the annual cost for VMware licensing, server hardware, network hardware, storage hardware, data center or facilities, labor, bandwidth, backups, support contracts, etc. Once you have determined your TCO, you can start looking at migration options to a public private cloud. 

Hold on a second–“Public private cloud”?  What does that even mean? Isn’t that an oxymoron? Let me explain. 

Migration is hard…

The public cloud is virtualized compute resources that you pay for on a consumption/utilization basis. Organizations around the world are working on initiatives to migrate to the public cloud from traditional on-premises private cloud environments like VMware.

The smartest way to migrate is to transform and modernize all applications and data to take advantage of cloud native services. 

This is a massive undertaking that usually takes years to accomplish. To break this down a bit, let’s start with what it means to migrate. Migrating means moving a lot of data, applications, and configurations from one place to another.

Businesses migrate virtual machines and VMware products for pricing and infrastructure reasons

That’s the easy part. The hard part is doing it as quickly as possible with the fewest interruptions to your business operations. 

If you don’t have the time or budget to modernize and transform all your data, applications, and configurations, then you can consider converting your VMware VMs to cloud VMs.

Unfortunately, that means some re-architecting, networking, and a lot of converting, which takes a lot of time. It can also be a heavy lift for your engineers to learn new platform management skills.

…but migration can be easier…

I’ve worked on hundreds of migrations for enterprises both in and out of VMware environments. Recently, I’ve been working with SADA customers who are migrating to VMware Engine on Google Cloud. 

A customer I recently worked with was under pressure to migrate to the cloud because of a trifecta of reasons–the company had an initiative to move to the cloud, their Data Center / CoLo lease was expiring, and their VMware license was expiring. 

This customer, who I’ll call InfoPro, started planning discussions six months prior to their lease running out. After evaluating their options and selecting a direction, they only had three months left to move 200 VMs. 

If you’ve ever worked on a project like this, you know that three months is not a lot of time to move a lot of data and applications. InfoPro chose SADA to help them migrate to Google Cloud VMware Engine (GCVE). We started with a deep dive into discovery and planning, followed by the initial configuration of a VMware Engine Private Cloud. 

That wasn’t too difficult; we worked together to make their new VMware environment networks match their existing network. Then we connected their existing environment with the new environment using VMware HCX, which is included with GCVE. 

SADA did a couple test migrations using a few staging VMs and worked out the kinks. After that, we created batches of VMs to move over in waves during prescribed change windows.

Moving about 30 VMs a week, we were able to get everything migrated right before their lease expired. It was a lot of work, and not necessarily easy, but it was a lot easier than having to perform a migration that involved converting VMs or modernizing/transforming applications. Best of all, we were happy that this customer is now in the best position for further transformation, growth, and success. 

(For more info on why I think VMware in Google Cloud is the best implementation of vSphere in the cloud check out my blog post, 5 reasons why VMware on Google Cloud is the superior choice.)

… and you can even save money in the process!

Customers and businesses evaluate VMware pricing and infrastructure license price and costs

For InfoPro, moving to the cloud saved money. There are a lot of factors to consider when making a move like this. If you have hardware that is fully depreciated and you’re on a VMware license without Support, then all you have to do is keep the lights on and hope that nothing breaks.

While GCVE tends to be more expensive in that case, you can definitely save if you update your hardware on a regular basis and maintain current VMware licensing and Support. 

If you just look at the retail price, you might not be convinced, but with a one-year committed use discount, you can save 31%. If you get a three-year committed use discount, you can save 51% off the retail price.

Then factor in VMware licensing, server hardware, storage hardware, network infrastructure, facilities, labor, etc, and in three years you can save about 50% in your Total Cost of Ownership for your VMware environment. 

And since VMware licensing prices just went up, you save  even more, especially since Google’s prices for GCVE are not going up! That’s what InfoPro did. Now that they’re running on VMware in Google Cloud, they have the freedom to focus on transforming their applications to cloud native resources.

Quick guide: Top 7 issues to address when planning your VMware migration

VMware license pricing vs Google Cloud solutions; customers upgrade to Google Cloud platform infrastructure

Planning a successful VMware migration is a serious undertaking, and one of the most important aspects of a flawless execution is coming to the table with the right questions about features, alternative solutions, software, servers, and next steps.

To assist you in your VMware migration strategy sessions with various stakeholders, here are the top seven issues that you will need to raise. Making sure that you address these questions will help solidify and clarify your plan. 

1. Workload suitability. Do the source and destination have the same CPU platform (AMD or Intel)? Are there any VMs or workloads that should be moved to a cloud native format? Are there any VMs or workloads that cannot be moved or can be deprecated?

2. Application and environment dependencies. Which groups of VMs are dependent on each other for application functionality? How do you separate your dev, staging, and production environments? Are there any VMs with non-standard dependencies like Raw Device Mappings or USB Port mappings?

3. Tolerance for downtime. How much downtime is each Application allowed to have? How much downtime can non-production environments have? 

4. Network bandwidth. What is the network bandwidth you will have between your source and destination? How much if any of that bandwidth is required to run your production environment? (i.e., if you use all the bandwidth for migration, will it impact your production environment?)

5. Total data and change rate. What is the total amount of data that will be migrated and what percentage of that data changes every day? 

6. Backup and DR requirements. What are your current backup and disaster recovery (DR) requirements? What will they be during migration? What will your backup and disaster recovery requirements be post migration? Be sure to bake technical support into your plan.

7. Security and compliance. What are your current Security and Compliance requirements and will they be any different in the destination environment? Establishing protocols for ensuring that your systems are secure from the beginning protects you from trouble down the road.

Planning a VMware migration strategy with SADA

Customer support to migrate from VMware software, licensing, and servers

We at SADA understand that a successful VMware migration strategy can be challenging, but it’s well worth the effort. When you work with SADA VMware migration experts, you can expect the engagement to start with a deep dive into your organization’s desired outcomes and regulatory requirements, with a sharp focus on business continuity.

Schedule a consultation today and discover how SADA can empower your VMware journey. As a gesture of gratitude, you’ll receive a voucher for a complimentary pair of custom Nike® shoes upon completing the meeting.* (Limited-time offer)

*Offer terms and conditions apply.


Our expert teams of consultants, architects, and solutions engineers are ready to help with your bold ambitions, provide you with more information on our services, and answer your technical questions. Contact us today to get started.

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