Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) is a new joint solution from Amazon and VMware. In this article, you'll learn how to install and run Amazon RDS on your on-premises VMware vSphere datacenter.

Vladan Seget

Vladan Seget is an independent consultant, professional blogger, vExpert 2009-2019, VCAP-DCA/DCD and MCSA. He has been working for over 20 years as a system engineer.

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Amazon RDS on VMware supports Microsoft SQL Server 2016 SP 2 Enterprise edition, PostgreSQL 10.9, and MySQL 5.7 databases (DBs).

VMware customers will be able to use RDS on VMware to automate DB provisioning, operating system (OS) and DB patching, backups, point-in-time restores, compute scaling, instance health monitoring, and failovers. All of these operations are native Amazon tasks.

Upon choosing a solution, it will automatically download and install VMware Database Management Essentials. This management bundle has all the components and technology for Amazon RDS on VMware.

Amazon RDS on VMware features ^

  • Automated DB management: Amazon automates administrative tasks, such as those mentioned above.
  • Simple UI: The Amazon RDS console, APIs, and command-line interface (CLI) all essentially present the same simple UI to manage RDS on VMware or RDS DBs running on Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • Scalable resources: You can scale compute and memory resources in your on-premises DB instance.
  • Performance monitoring: You can monitor performance via Amazon CloudWatch metrics free of charge.
  • Availability protection: The solution automatically monitors DBs and automatically recovers any unhealthy database by using the same storage volume.
  • Backup and restore: You can use automatic or manual backups for your on-premises databases. Amazon RDS supports point-in-time restores. You can define a retention period on a per-database basis.

Amazon RDS architecture ^

The solution maps every Amazon RDS on a VMware customer availability zone (VCAZ) to a single vSphere cluster. The other way around is the same, mapping a vSphere cluster to a single Amazon RDS on a VCAZ.

An internet network can be an existing network with internet access. VMware creates a site-to-site VPN.

A cluster control network is a guest network dedicated to RDS. A DHCP server provided by Amazon RDS runs on this network and provides IP addresses and a unique virtual local area network (VLAN) ID.

An application network is an existing network for deploying DB instances. On this network, DB instances will offer SQL access to client applications.

Amazon creates a VPN network automatically after configuring the solution.

Architecture of Amazon RDS on VMware

Architecture of Amazon RDS on VMware

System requirements ^

VMware customers need to satisfy some system requirements. In fact, vSphere has to be on a certain version to be able to deploy Amazon RDS.

  • VMware vCenter Server 6.5 U2 and later (up to 6.7 U2)
  • vSphere Enterprise Plus license
  • VMware ESXi 6.5 U2 (up to 6.7 U2)
  • 24 vCPUs, 24 GB of RAM, and 180 GB of storage
  • ESXi hosts all connected to shared storage (Fibre Channel, FC over Ethernet, iSCSI, NAS over NFS, or VMware vSAN); there is no support for local storage
  • Fixed public IP with DNS resolution for vCenter Server from the outside
  • Internet connectivity
  • VMware support contract
  • vCenter Server user with administrative privileges; after configuration, you no longer need this admin user account

How Amazon RDS on VMware works ^

After you verify all the system requirements, during the implementation process, you'll install an Amazon RDS connector. This is an Amazon virtual appliance downloaded and deployed on the on-premises VMware vSphere cluster of your choice.

The Amazon installer wizard guides you through the configuration process. The vSphere cluster will become a VCAZ to the closest AWS region.

Sign into the AWS Management Console, select the US East (N Virginia) region, and choose Custom AZs on the navigation panel. From there you can download an .ovf file, which is the connector virtual machine (VM).

Amazon custom availability zone creation

Amazon custom availability zone creation

The installation process creates the VPN connection and installs Amazon RDS on the VMware components. It then runs automated tests to make sure Amazon RDS on VMware is working properly. After the tests, you can provision the DB instances within the VMware environment.

The Amazon RDS on VMware installer is specific per region. This means you must download the installer from the region you want to connect to.

Note there is currently no support for vSphere 6.7 U3, but I'm sure they will solve this quickly.

Once the installation is complete, the whole architecture will look like this. This time, we can see the different VMs and control the VMs to deploy on premises.

AWS on VMware vSphere architecture

AWS on VMware vSphere architecture

Amazon also has a requirement. You have to have a business-level or enterprise-level AWS support plan.

Final words ^

It is certainly a great solution for enterprise customers willing to deploy Amazon RDS locally. If you have a habit of using Amazon RDS on Amazon, you can now do the same on your on-premises environment.

While backing up Amazon RDS occurs via native Amazon tools, there's no support for external backup software solutions using the VMware Storage API for Data Protection (VADP). Thus, you won't be able to back up these on-premises VMs via your usual backup software.

Amazon RDS has a fixed hourly cost depending on which type of instance you deploy. You can check the Amazon RDS on VMware pricing page here.

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