AWS Partner Network (APN) Blog

Managing MSP Costs with VMware Cloud Director Service Multi-Tenancy

By Adrian Begg, Sr. Specialist Solutions Architect – AWS
By Kiran Reid, Sr. Partner Solutions Architect – AWS
By Steve Lord, Product Line Manager – VMware

Many of our joint customers ask us for ways to modernize their workloads and migrate to the cloud. Over the past five years, customers with vSphere workloads have chosen VMware Cloud on AWS to migrate applications into the cloud in a fast and seamless manner.

VMware Cloud on AWS allows customers to migrate their workloads faster without having to refactor or change any application code or logic.

Managed Cloud Service Providers (MSPs) around the globe have built highly successful businesses on VMware Cloud Director-powered clouds running in their own data centers. These MSPs have earned trust with their customers over many years as trusted advisors and partners.

VMware Cloud Director Service (CDS) is a containerized software-as-a-service (SaaS) implementation of VMware Cloud Director that integrates with VMware Cloud on AWS and provides a Cloud Director experience utilizing VMware on AWS infrastructure. To integrate and manage the CDS, providers can perform the following actions through the VMware Cloud Console for CDS instance.

In this post, we will look at some of the challenges MSPs face and how using multi tenancy with VMware Cloud on AWS can help address them.


As more and more customers seek to modernize their applications, and increase the pace of innovation as their services have grown and evolved, many MSPs now face similar challenges.


Figure 1 – Challenges faced by MSPs.

  • Increasing effort to keep the lights on; no time to build for the future: As an MSP becomes more successful and scales, so does the operational efforts involved in keeping the service stable, reliable, and secure. Further, as industry skills change, finding skilled technicians who are able to support the slack becomes increasingly challenging.
  • Demand is not linear, but cost structures and lead times to deploy new capacity often are: Capacity management is the constant conflict, and MSPs need to ensure they have sufficient capacity to meet current and future customer demand, as well as balancing the ratio of resource over commitment. This needs to be done whilst maintaining sufficient performance and availability all while trying to keep costs to a minimum. Predicting growth or reductions in demand is purely a guessing game, which can lead to unnecessary or inefficient use of capital if you overestimate or a poor user experience for customers if you underestimate.
  • Expanding where a service is offered is expensive and risky: MSPs want to serve their customers where there is demand, particularly if they have global customers that have requirements to serve their own users and customers with low latency. Opening and operating data centers in another geography is not feasible for most service providers. Some address this by partnering with a local partner, but this approach can be difficult to manage with separate partners, reliance on different operations teams in each geography, and different contractual arrangements that can lead to poor service for end customers.


The VMware Cloud Director Service solves this by enabling MSPs to expand their current VMware Cloud on AWS offering with a multi-tenant public cloud solution.

Using the Cloud Director service, cloud providers can offer organizations, application services, and virtual data center services in VMware Cloud on AWS, sized appropriately to their needs, removing the need to dedicate an entire software-defined data center (SDDC) for a single customer.

With VMware Cloud Director service now being available through AWS resell, service providers can focus on their customers and build innovative services. MSPs can leverage their existing investments in their IT managed services with the added benefit of access to AWS.


Figure 2 – Cloud Director Service multi-tenancy solution.

With the multi-tenant capabilities offered by this service, AWS Partners are able to securely and easily share VMware Cloud on AWS instances across multiple tenants. This added flexibility enables partners to expand the reach of their VMware Cloud on AWS service to mid-market enterprise customers where previously segment barriers prevented them from doing so.

MSP Benefits

VMware Cloud Director service allows MSPs to partition and organize VMware Cloud on AWS into resource pools, facilitating multi-tenant service delivery for organizations’ virtual data centers, users, and networks.

Right Sizing Resources

CDS gives MSPs the ability to carve up their VMware Cloud on AWS SDDC infrastructure into smaller resource pools for customer organizations. The benefit is that it makes their initial investment smaller and provides flexibility to expand to dedicated resource pools as they grow the service capacity. This is particularly appealing to MSPs who have smaller, mid-tier, and SMB customers, making this a cost-viable solution for them.


Figure 3 – Right size your customer environment.

Choose an Allocation Model That Suits Your Needs

Cloud Director Service has allocation models to match MSP’s customer requirements. Choose between Flex, Allocation Pool, Pay-As-You-Go, and Reservation allocation models.

  • Pay-As-You-Go: Provides no up-front resource allocation in the organizational virtual data center (Org VDC). Resources are committed as users power up virtual machine (VM) or vApp in an Org VDC. Resources are committed at the VM level in terms of percentage vCPU and vGB RAM; a provider can use these commitments to specify an SLA.
  • Allocation Pool: Each organization’s VDC gets an allocated pool of resources, and only a percentage of resources are committed or reserved to the Org VDC. The provider can construct an SLA and pricing around the volume of reserved resources.
  • Reservation Pool: The organization is committed to 100% of the resources, whether needed or not; there’s no sharing of resources with other Org VDCs. This ensures resources are available when needed and tenants can adjust their own reservations and limits per VM.
  • Flex: Simplifies and provides the best of Allocation Pool and Pay-As-You-Go models, by controlling CPU and RAM consumption, both at the Org VDC and individual VM levels through sizing policies.


Figure 4 – Cloud Director service allocation models.

Simple Expansion

Using VMware Cloud on AWS, capacity can be added to your environment quickly, enabling you to add tenant capacity within minutes. Cloud Director service allows you to provide increased geo coverage by purchasing on demand or committed multi-tenant capacity and extend your virtual data centers into the new regions.

This alleviates service providers’ reliance on different operational teams in different geographic regions. In addition, all regions, availability zones and endpoints can be seen in the common Cloud Director service dashboard.


Figure 5 – Global expansion with AWS.

Utilize Hybrid Cloud and Avoid Fragmented Offerings

VMware Cloud Director service is built on the same proven architecture and user experience as on-premises VMware Cloud Director. This allows you to deliver a simple, seamless common operational model for your customers and cloud administrators.

You can deliver new offerings from the VMware Cloud Director service user interface, and as the product evolves the aim is to achieve service parity with VMware Cloud Director and provide multi-site hybrid capability and service delivery.

Integration with AWS-Native Services

With VMware Cloud on AWS running in AWS data centers, your solution has adjacency to native AWS services. You can provide customers with simple access to their existing AWS solutions and give them access to these from their Org VDCs.

Using VPC connectivity allows providers to expose services leveraging AWS-native Services like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), and Amazon FSx. This enables an MSP to offer up these services to their tenants from the MSP account.


Figure 6 – Integration with AWS-native services.


VMware Cloud Director service enables MSPs to expand their current VMware Cloud on AWS offering with a multi-tenant public cloud solution. The benefit of this proven cloud service-delivery platform, VMware Cloud Director, is now extended to VMware Cloud on AWS by using Cloud Director service.

Please contact AWS for support in implementing any of these architectures within your environments.