With the news that EMC is looking to sell Documentum, clients that used to be looking at Documentum hosting offerings from EMC are now considering other, better, alternatives including Amazon Web Services. This post will describe the reasons for considering Amazon over EMC/VMWare as well as present some of the technical details of an AWS/Documentum implementation.
EMC/VMWare as a hosting provider versus Amazon Web Services
EMC’s hosting option is essentially an extension for clients that run VMWare internally. From Gartner’s 2015 report on Cloud Infrastructure as a Service
“VMware has historically been a software vendor focused on virtualization technologies. It entered the cloud IaaS market when it launched the VMware vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS), now renamed vCloud Air, into general availability in September 2013…..vCloud Air has limited appeal to the business managers and application development leaders who are typically the key decision makers for cloud IaaS sourcing. VMware administrators in IT operations are the most likely champions of vCloud Air within a business, but they often prefer to build internal solutions, and they are also often the people that the business is trying to bypass by going to cloud IaaS.”
In comparison, Gartner’s comments on Amazon
“Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon.com, is a cloud-focused service provider with a very pure vision of highly automated, cost-effective IT capabilities, delivered in a flexible, on-demand manner….AWS has a diverse customer base and the broadest range of use cases, including enterprise and mission-critical applications. It is the overwhelming market share leader, with over 10 times more cloud IaaS compute capacity in use than the aggregate total of the other 14 providers in this Magic Quadrant….AWS is a thought leader; it is extraordinarily innovative, exceptionally agile, and very responsive to the market. It has the richest array of IaaS features and PaaS-like capabilities. It continues to rapidly expand its service offerings and offer higher-level solutions. Although it is beginning to face more competition from Microsoft and Google, it retains a multiyear competitive advantage. Although it will not be the ideal fit for every need, it has become the “safe choice” in this market, appealing to customers who desire the broadest range of capabilities and long-term market leadership. It is the provider most commonly chosen for strategic adoption.”
Amazon is the clear leader in this category and with the news that EMC is planning on selling Documentum, many clients are looking for a high end solution that can be used for Documentum as well as other hosting needs.
The remainder of this post will discuss implementing Documentum on Amazon as an alternative to VMWare.
Running Documentum on Amazon’s Web Services (AWS)
In reviewing alternatives, many clients realize Amazon’s Web Services can replace the typical expensive infrastructure used by an on-premise Documentum system in a nearly 1:1 swap. These components include:
- Load Balancers – Amazon’s Elastic Load Balancers (ELB) act as security gateways and enable scalability for multi-tiered applications.
- Application Servers – The EC2 compute cloud hosts a variety of OS systems, CPU cores, and memory sizes for flexibility in sizing configurations.
- Database – Amazon provides a relational database container service (RDS) that meets Documentum’s database requirements. Amazon manages the backup, underlying infrastructure, OS, and application layers for RDS eliminating the need for a database administrator.
- Storage – Amazon’s Elastic Block Storage, Simple Storage Service (S3), and Glacier are storage tiers that can be used separately or combined to meet varying requirements
- VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) – Each client account on AWS is deployed within its own Virtual Private Cloud. The VPC protects the services and infrastructure and provides a private network landscape for the applications. Clients can nest VPCs and private and public subnets to suit a variety needs.
- Direct Connect – is a VPN service connecting the AWS VPC to client data centers. The connection extends AWS to the on-premise network providing the capability for growing IT capacity without capital expenditure.
Differences between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and VMWare
Choosing to run Documentum in Amazon’s Web Services cloud brings several benefits over EMC’s VMWare cloud offering. The major difference between VMWare and AWS is the services available for clients. VMWare, focused on leveraging their industry leading on-premise technology for virtualization, provides this same solution from the cloud. AWS provides for virtualization as well as a number of different services that would have to be installed in the VMWare cloud and are the responsibility of the client. These services include:
- AWS Database and Storage Services – These two components by themselves reduce the manpower resources needed to maintain the Documentum infrastructure. In addition, the services are inherently redundant and satisfy both the disaster recovery and business continuity needs for Documentum.
- AWS Load Balancer and EC2 – The load balancer and EC2 capabilities of AWS amplify the simplicity of maintaining Documentum. The ability to image and snapshot servers, as well as deploy new servers quickly from snapshots, removes the maintenance and storage issues many on-premise VMWare environments run into, especially with large Documentum installations.
AWS Pricing is significantly below VMWare Cloud Air for an Environment Running 24/7/365
This table describes a simple Documentum environment and the services and costs associated with running it using AWS or VMWare Cloud Air services. Over the course of a year, the VMWare services are estimated to cost approximately $20,000 more than the equivalent AWS services. Links are provided for the calculators: AWS and VMWare Cloud Air.
|Service/Calculator||Documentum Products||On Demand Services||Monthly Cost||Annual Cost|
|AWS||Web App Server
Full Text Server
4 VMs @ 100% util
4 vCPU 16GB RAM
1 TB SSD Storage
1 Elastic IP
1 Load Balancer
RDS SQL Server (BYOL*)
Business Level Support
|VMWare Cloud Air||Web App Server
Full Text Server
SQL Server DB
5 VMs @ 100% util
4 vCPU 16GB RAM
1 TB SSD Storage
1 Public IP
VPN – 1Gbps
OnDemand Production Support
SQL Server (BYOL*)
*BYOL – Bring Your Own License
Many companies beginning to implement enterprise CMS solutions desire to have a more agile Documentum infrastructure, one that can respond to growth or be restored quickly if a disaster were to occur. AWS services meet both of these requirements and can also be designed to work with on-premise integrations. While EMC’s VMWare cloud may seem appealing since EMC still owns Documentum, the AWS environment provides a complete solution suite beyond server hosting.
Amazon Web Services provides a market leading solution for hosting Documentum systems. Companies are choosing Amazon over options from EMC based on VMWare as a longer term option particularly since EMC announced they are looking to sell Documentum.