The public cloud market is young, despite AWS’ growth and current worth of a few billion dollars. Most of the enterprise’s IT resources are still hosted on the organizational premise supported by VMware hypervisor. The enterprise hybrid challenge is hidden in the cloud utility model’s basic notion of hardware as software, whereas legacy application topology, performance and usages are still based on physical IT resources. This difference is the greatest factor when it comes to discussing the evolution pace of the `enterprise grade cloud`. The CIO today is required to show cloud adoption and IT operations’ efficiency. This reality is consequentially triggering new start-ups to evolve in efforts to facilitate closing this existing gap. One of the more interesting start-ups in supporting this intermediary cloud adoption phase and the hybrid cloud is Ravello Systems.
Behind Ravello are the people who created the KVM hypervisor so it was only natural for them to come with their Cloud Application Hypervisor. The Ravello hypervisor oversees cloud virtualization and allows IT users to encapsulate their application’s collection of IT resources including computing, networking and storage. The resulting Ravello application capsule is agnostic to the cloud/IT environment it runs on. Today, Ravello’s users can upload their VMware images, define and sketch the network topology and in as fast as a click, run it on AWS cloud, HP Cloud or Rackspace. This capability is pretty impressive when you consider that the platform support a migration* of any windows version, checkpoint firewalls, shared storage and more.
* Note: the Ravello team doesn’t like to describe their platform capability as `migration` since it is not a one-time kind of move but more of a dynamic between hosting and cloud environments.
Ravello’s offer is composed of the following three components:
- HVX – A nested hypervisor which is the engine behind Ravello’s ability to normalize an application environment across private and public clouds.
- IO Overlay / Software Defined Network- Defines any custom networking and storage topology for your application.
- Application Framework – Manages your multi-VM application as one self-contained object.
Once you upload your VMware images, Ravello then runs a “cloud fit” scan to find which cloud environment they best suit. The “best fit” algorithm takes in mind best performance and/or costs. The system can also run an optimization action, such as resources consolidation, in order to enhance the cloud running costs. The core capabilities as well as the challenges of Ravello’s technology are hidden in its ability to present this second virtualization layer without harming performance, while enabling an as-is replica of the on-premise application.
On February this year Ravello Systems closed its second funding round bringing the total amount of funds it raised to $26 million. Ravello is backed by Sequoia Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners. Today Ravello announced the General Availability of their Cloud Application Hypervisor.
IT leader of the organization understands today that the public cloud can perform well in cases of bursts and unpredictable demand. Moreover, if you start a project in the cloud, chances are it will continue to reside in the cloud. So the basic truth is that creating this “hybrid cloud” is not so straight forward. Rami Tamir, Ravello’s CEO and Co-founder
Replicas for Dev and Test
The typical Ravello user is an early-adopter developer and tester that needs to quickly replicate an application stack in order to focus on the product building phase. The challenge that stands in the developer’s way is making sure that the replica of the on-premise application is the exact same within the public cloud. That is the challenge hidden within the on-premise features versus the new IaaS environment, such as multicast protocols and complex clustering or NAS (check out my Enterprise Grade Cloud Enabled by the Ecosystem) that are not supported by the public cloud vendors.
The new cloud broker will need to give broad added values starting from the basic auto scale after moving to the public cloud. That will really help an enterprise `encapsulate` its application while aligning capacity to demand and really take advantage of the public cloud. This type of features will be a sure way of making Ravello a leader in the hybrid cloud evolving market within the cloud arena.
Ravellos’ prices are usage based. The new pricing start as low as $0.14/hour for 2vCPU and 4GB RAM for application compute, and include the cost of the underlying public cloud. The actual price point depends on 3 factors:
- Size of the application
- Complexity of the application (‘advanced’ tier = basic networking, ‘enterprise’ tier = complex networking)
- Optimization criteria (cost optimized or performance optimized).