Amazon RDS on VMware
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Satya Shrestha

November 24, 2020

Brief overview of Amazon RDS on VMware

Amazon and VMware have jointly partnered to bring the battle tested Amazon RDS service in private data centres that has VMware vSphere clusters running. There is no doubt that VMware is the de facto Hypervisor of choice for Enterprise Data Centers around the world. Since its inception in 1998, VMware has a proven track record of being an innovative and enterprise friendly technology company that caters for 99% of Fortune 500 companies globally. Amazon on the other hand, is the undisputed public cloud leader and has been the leader since its rise as public cloud service provider since 2004. Amazon RDS is the Third most popular service in the gamut of services provided by Amazon Web Services.

With the joint partnership between Amazon and VMware since August 2017, the relationship between the two technology Titans is fostering at an unprecedented pace. VMware now recognizes Amazon as its preferred public cloud service provider for its flagship hybrid-cloud offering "VMware Cloud on AWS" and many other vRealize suite of products (including vRealize Network Insight, vRealize Log Insight, vRealize Operations, Cloud Director Service etc) which are now being offered to VMware's massive customer base. as SaaS based Enterprise products.

Amazon RDS on VMware is another game changing technology that has been jointly engineered by Amazon and VMware. Amazon RDS provides cost-efficient and resizable capacity while automating time-consuming administration tasks including infrastructure provisioning, database setup, patching, and backups, freeing customers to focus on their applications. RDS on VMware brings many of these same benefits to customer's on-premises deployments, making it easy to set up, operate, and scale databases in VMware vSphere private data centers.

With this offering, enterprises no longer need to worry about mundane database management and administration tasks such as database engine upgrades, updates, security patching and other crucial functions like backup and restore. Amazon and VMware take care of this heavy lifting and the customers can now focus on high value tasks essential for their business. Database administrators can now solely focus on optimising their databases and fine tuning their queries that improves the overall user experience and cut down their precious time in mundane DB administration tasks stated above.

Let’s dive a little deeper into what Amazon RDS on VMware is and how it works.

When Amazon RDS on VMware is deployed, there are few steps necessary for appropriate configuration. Below screen shows the High-Level Product Architecture of Amazon RDS on VMware when it is deployed in an on-premise environment.

For this deployment, AWS VPN is a crucial piece that gets configured as part of on-boarding of Amazon RDS on VMware. The customer needs to open some ports in the on-premise firewall to allow outbound connections to TCP or UDP ports 50, 500, 4500 for IKE/IPsec site-to-site VPN. Once the VPN is established, customers can create Custom-AZ in Amazon RDS Management Console, where all the required RDS Components get installed including Local RDS Control Plane. Tenant/Customer will also require a DHCP server for dynamic IP allocation on RDS on VMware Application network and Internet network.

Once the RDS on VMware control plane and all required appliances are deployed and configured appropriately, customers can then start deploying and managing their RDS on VMware DB instances from AWS RDS Management console, similar to how they would manage RDS DB Instances in AWS native cloud environment.

Amazon RDS on VMware Deployment and Configuration Details

Log on to Amazon RDS console. Amazon RDS on VMware is currently available in US-EAST-1 (at the time of this writing) and Amazon customers can launch Amazon RDS on VMware in that region.

To create new Amazon RDS on VMware, go to Amazon RDS Management console and under Custom Availability Zones, click Create custom AZ.

Enter Custom AZ name, and appropriate VPN Settings that includes VPN tunnel name and VPN originator IP. Then click Create custom AZ.

Once the Custom AZ is created, click on the Download Installer button. The installer validates on-premises VMware setup and installs Amazon RDS on VMware components. The custom AZ becomes active after Amazon RDS on VMware installation is complete.

RDS Installer is a simple OVA based appliance that customers can download and install in on-premise vSphere cluster. It's as simple as right clicking on the vSphere cluster and deploying an OVA template by specifying RDS Installer OVA file. Below screen shows an already deployed RDSonVMwareInstaller appliance.

Below network requirements needs to be fulfilled for Amazon RDS on VMware Installation to be successfully Completed.

We need to create following three network port groups:

  1. Application Network - All database VMs are going to be deployed here.
  2. Cluster Control Network - This is an internal network where all RDS management and control plane appliances sit and communicate with each other. The data from this network never goes out to other networks.
  3. Internet network - This network is required to establish IPSec VPN tunnel between on-premise environment and Amazon Web Service. The ports 4500 and 500 need to be opened in firewall and also inbound and outbound access to Amazon sites/services needs to be open in firewall to establish the IPSec VPN tunnel and proper functioning of custom AZ.

During the deployment of the RDSonVMwareInstaller, the above stated networks need to be specified appropriately. Below picture shows that the RDSonVMwareInstaller has these three networks appropriately selected during its deployment. The fourth network in the picture "VM Network'' is the ESXi Management network to communicate with vCenter server and ESXi server.

Once the RDSonVMwareInstaller is deployed, to configure the Appliance, log on to its web console using the IP address assigned to the appliance.

On the Installer web console, enter AWS Access Key ID and AWS Secret Access Key (which can be obtained from AWS IAM console) that has appropriate RDS privileges. Then click on VALIDATE WITH AWS CREDENTIAL.

Once the validation is complete, on the AWS Configuration screen, select appropriate region and custom AZs and click on Next.

In the Network Configuration page, enter appropriate network configuration details and click on Next.

In the vCenter Configuration screen, enter appropriate vCenter credential details and click on Test Connection. Once the connection test is successful, click on Next.

On the Placement Details screen, select appropriate Data Center, Cluster, Datastore (where all RDS databases will be placed when they are created) and appropriate Resource Pool. Click on Validate. The validation takes about 3 - 5 minutes to validate all the variables set during the configuration are correct and working fine.

If there's any validation error, it will show an error message similar to below screen.

Once all the validation errors are fixed, the deployment continues, and installation gets completed.

Once the RDSonVMwareInstaller successfully deploys the required appliances, the RDSonVMwareInstaller gets powered off after the install is complete, as it has no further role to play from this point onward. The first appliance that gets deployed is RDS Connector appliance, which then executes various scripts to download and deploy other appliances. The final list of deployed appliance list looks like below. The entire process of deployment of all appliances takes about two hours to complete.

In this example the Custom AZ that is configured is called Lab...xxxx and it goes in active state.

Once the Custom AZ is active and available you can now start creating RDS Databases on VMware as you normally would create in Amazon RDS. In the below screen, Database location is specified as On-premises, and the Custom Availability Zone that was activated in earlier steps has been selected.

At the time of this writing, Amazon RDS on VMware support only 3 DB engines, namely: MySQL, PostgreSQL and Microsoft SQL Server.

In this DB deployment example, we've chosen MySQL for simplicity sake. The version list box shows the supported MySQL version. Select the one as required.

Then fill in other DB settings such as DB Instance Identifier, Credential Settings, DB Instance Size and so on.

Once all the required configuration is appropriately filled, click on Create database. 

This will kick off creation of MySQL DB Instance in on-premise (custom AZ) with specified configuration details. If it's the first time MySQL DB Instance has been created, RDS will create a master instance of MySQL DB and then clones the DB to create the new MySQL DB Instances. In Screen below you can see the MySQL DB instances getting created in on-premise vSphere Cluster.

Once the DB Instance is up and running it is ready to be used by the applications within the On-premise VMware environment. Now you can utilise the same simple interface for managing databases in on-premises VMware vSphere environments as you would use in AWS where you can easily spin up and down MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Microsoft SQL Server databases with just a few button clicks.

For a deeper dive on modernizing databases with Amazon RDS on VMware, check out this joint webinar.

You can also learn more by visiting the Amazon RDS on VMware sponsor page at AWS re:Invent, kicking off Monday November 30, 2020. VMware experts will be presenting different Amazon RDS on VMware demos on each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the three-week event, from 12:15pm-12:45 pm.  Read this document to find out more about VMware’s presence at AWS re:Invent

 

REFERENCES:

Amazon RDS on VMware: https://aws.amazon.com/rds/vmware/

What is Amazon RDS on VMware?: https://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonRDS/latest/RDSonVMwareUserGuide/rds-on-vmware.html

Key Capabilities of Amazon RDS on VMware: https://cloud.vmware.com/rds-on-vmware

Satya is an experienced IT professional with a demonstrated history of working in the Information Technology with years of experience in multiple industry verticals. He currently works for VMware as Staff Cloud Solutions Architect. He is skilled in designing and implementing Enterprise Application Suite in Public, Private and Hybrid cloud infrastructure including AWS, VMware, VMware Cloud on AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and the like.

Satya Shrestha

Staff Multi-cloud Solutions Architect, VMware

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2 Comments

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