VMware Aria: Mastering the Control of Your Hybrid Cloud

As you saw/will see today, the amalgamation of infrastructure that encompasses your vSphere environment, VMware Cloud, AWS, etc can be very complex. VMware Aria is your companion to support that journey. We have a major challenge in front of us that covers a few key areas:

  • Cost
  • Performance
  • Configuration
  • Delivery

I think Purnima says it really well. Among those four key areas a change in one impacts the other instantly. When we scale up for performance, it impacts delivery, cost, and even configuration. When we scale, costs rise, but what about if we decide to shift to a different cloud, or apply a configuration? Security is huge, but how does applying those security configuration impact everything else?

Today, we’re going to talk about a new frontier called VMware Aria that has great potential to help us harness the power of a multi-cloud world. So without further adieu, let’s talk about these four key areas as we preview Aria.

What is the VMware Aria Hub?

The Aria Hub brings together many different environments together to deliver a unified hub to deliver actionable insights and powers your ability to manage your infrastructure. If you’re familiar with Microsoft Viva, its very similar to Viva for Infrastructure. One might say it’s the next generation version of vRealize.

Your Aria Hub is essentially the dashboard for the entire platform as you can see below:

The Aria Hub is persona-driven giving you the ability to tailor to your different users. Aria Hub is powering your ability as an application owner to see your aggregate cost, infrastructure up-times, security/configuration, and business insights just to name a few. As we mentioned earlier, there are four main areas that make Aria special.

The Four Domains of Aria

Aria’s four domains are:

  • Cost
  • Performance
  • Configuration
  • Delivery

Each of these areas are interwoven into the fabric of your business. Everything you do have a ripple effect that impacts other things like how scalability makes things more expensive. Let’s discuss how Aria helps with some of these domains.

One item that I really wanted to call out is how Aria is also tracking sustainability with their “Green Score” metrics, which is huge to me as a certified-Green organization:

How VMware Aria Impacts Cost

Aria impacts costs in a few ways. For one, it will show you how much a particular container/application costs, like this below:

We also have total cost overall or of a specific area:

Overall, I think the most impactful area is the Multi-cloud Migration Service. That service has an assessment and execution side. So we start with our potential migration, which you can see would have a huge upfront cost of over 3M.

When you start trying to remove stuff from scope like maybe certain VLANs, you can see interdependencies and potential performance issues:

Once we exclude, we can see what our new TCO looks like:

The assessment you get in the end state is a nice way of looking at how this actually helps you:

VMware Aria’s Performance Capabilities

Aria provides great insights into the performance of your applications as you can see below. You can drill down from SDDC all the way to a specific VM. Notice how certain items are color-coded where you may have issues.

Applications delivered via Aria Automation have huge insights into the application, owner, and more:

VMware Aria Configuration Management

Configuration Management is largely driven by VMware vRealize Automation’s Cloud Guardrails platform, which is a policy as code enforcement engine. When you drill into an application in Aria you get Insights:

You will notice the direct link into Guardrails. The nice thing about Guardrails is it gives you a nice view into potential issues from a configuration perspective:

Remediation becomes really easy with a simple click to automatically fix a variety of issues. You can even do automatic remediation into Tanzu Mission Control by adding those EKS clusters. Changes are not only possible, but uses the principal of Desired State Management (which I’ve talked about in other articles):

One last thing to check out about how these fixes operate as code:

VMware Aria Delivery

We saw earlier how we used the Multi-cloud Migration Service to assess and plan for a potential move. Now, we look at the execution of that plan.

Once we move into the execution stage, we first do an analysis, which will show you the various workloads. You can see how it breaks it down into efficiency bundles:

The efficiency bundles make things really easy. My favorite part is that the efficiency bundle has an approval workflow so you can ensure you have proper buy-in and simplify the process. You can even see the projects it impacts and current health insights/resource utilization:

After approvals, you select your landing zone for the migration, note how you can also do automation and security planning as well:

Once that is done, we move onto the Migration Pipeline, which many of us are familiar with the concepts. What also great is you can edit the pipeline within this section to ensure all business logic/processes are account for:

The final step is where you will schedule your migration and even slice it up to provide comfort for your people (note the ability to set the hours and bandwidth):

Another fantastic aspect to this is the Migration Board that gives you great insights into how your execution is going. It even allows you to re-queue up failures:

Final Thoughts

I believe the question with VMware Aria isn’t going to be how useful it is. I think this will be about the cost. The platform has amazing potential to drive automation and lower TCO, but what does that cost us? As someone who isn’t an expert in vRealize, I definitely love this platform. It reminds me of a few products I’ve seen in recent years like Workspace ONE Intelligence and Microsoft Viva. We can clearly see how companies are thinking about the problems we all face.

One thing that I do love about Aria is that they are focused on sustainability, which shows true dedication to their mission. Often a mistake that vendors make is forgetting what matters to companies. Aria can be special truly, but only time will tell if it delivers a true reduction in cost or just a comparison in cost.

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