VMware is making it easier to connect private data centers to the public cloud through a new connectivity solution. It’s among the latest hybrid cloud offerings introduced by the company.
VMware quietly unveiled the solution, called Transit Connect, in early June and later promoted it as part of a broad set of new offerings and enhancements designed to improve integration between VMware-based workloads and Amazon Web Services.
Transit Connect is “a high-bandwidth, low latency and resilient connectivity solution” for connecting VMware Cloud on AWS environments to other on-premises and off-premises infrastructure, according to VMware. It supports VMware Software Defined Data Centers (SDDCs) and AWS virtual private clouds (VPCs).
The offering is based on Transit Gateway, an AWS service for building a common network that spans cloud-based and on-premises infrastructure. As such, it offers high network bandwidth, low latency, and high levels of resiliency.
According to a VMware webinar, Transit Connect is priced based on the number of environments attached, as well as data transfers over the network. Exact costs vary depending on which AWS region hosts your resources. Users don’t have to pay for generic AWS data egress costs, just the fees associated with Transit Connect itself, webinar organizers said.
A related feature that VMware announced at the same time, SDDC Groups with VMware Transit Connect, lets customers cluster sets of SDDCs into a single organizational unit to simplify management.
Simplifying Hybrid Cloud Connectivity
Transit Connect doesn’t unlock any fundamentally new functionality. Before VMware introduced the solution, there was nothing stopping AWS customers from using the generic Transit Gateway service to connect private data centers to VMware-based environments hosted on AWS.
But the solution does add simplicity to a process that previously required a fair amount of effort, especially when it came to managing routing between different cloud-based and on-premises environments. The tool automatically configures routing policies to connect VMware SDDCs and VPCs. It also comes with a graphical interface for setting up connections, and VMware provides ongoing management of connections, reducing the monitoring and maintenance burden placed on users.
In this way, Transit Connect represents another investment by VMware in hybrid cloud. It’s part of a broad redefinition of VMware’s value proposition that began several years ago and has been highlighted most notably in the past year by hybrid-oriented solutions like Project Pacific and Tanzu Mission Control.
Transit Connect Limitations
The extent to which Transit Connect makes an impact on VMware’s standing in the hybrid cloud ecosystem will depend in part on whether the solution is flexible enough to deliver significant value to customers.
Right now, there are some notable limitations. For one, all of the cloud-based resources that you connect must run within the same AWS region. For another, at least one of the environments connected by the service must be a VMware SDDC. You can’t use it to connect a standalone VMware server to a VPC, for example. A third limitation is that Transit Connect requires customers to run SDDC version 1.11 or later. Given that VMware continues to support several older releases, it’s unlikely that all customers will be immediately prepared to take advantage of the solution.
And perhaps most important, the service works only with the AWS cloud. It’s not a full-fledged hybrid connectivity solution for bridging VMware-based environments that run on any public cloud or private data center.
Still, alongside VMware’s other recent initiatives on AWS, Transit Connect is a sign that VMware remains deeply invested in the hybrid cloud market and wants to appeal to customers who choose to keep some of their workloads in their own data centers (or colocation facilities) while running others in the public cloud.