Ravello delivers a virtual private cloud, on a real(ish) public one

Cue moans about complexity, but is Ravello's cloud-within-a-cloud a valid approach?

ladder clouds
Credit: Thinkstock

Ravello has had a few different focus points since it was founded back in 2011. Originally it was all about cloud migrations, allowing applications, unicorn-like, to move from location to location, and thus enabling the fabled concept of cloudbursting. Since then, Ravello has changed focus a little, although, in fairness, its focus today bears much in common with the original vision.

Ravello is built upon HVX, a nested hypervisor that delivers self-contained capsules that run within existing virtual environments. If you think that sounds a little like what Docker is offering, you'd be correct in your assumption, but Ravello focuses on applications with traditional architectures as opposed to those based on microservices. Delivered as a service, Ravello runs on public clouds such as AWS and Google and is priced starting at $0.14 per hour.

Ravello is a company that knows virtualization. The founding team was the same group that created the KVM hypervisor, so they have a very good grasp of both the business case and the technology hurdles here.

The company is today announcing InfinityDC, an approach that lets enterprises extend their existing VMware-based data centers into the cloud. In action, InfinityDC creates a self-contained capsule on-demand inside Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud, where enterprises can install, run, and save their current versions of VMware vSphere, virtual appliances and enterprise software. The capsule behaves like a fully isolated virtual private cloud that can be centrally managed using existing management tools such as vCenter.

InfinityDC can auto-deploy a full VMware environment with complex networking in a promised five minutes inside of AWS, as well as support a live migration using vMotion from an existing data center to a new environment inside of AWS and Google.

Ravello sees this as providing the best of both worlds: enterprise-grade infrastructure but with public cloud utility. "This revolutionary new approach brings the convenience, flexibility, and pay-as-you-go economics of the public cloud to your private data center," Rami Tamir, CEO and co-founder of Ravello Systems, says. "When you need a car for a few days, it's cheap and convenient to get a Zipcar, but this wouldn't be feasible if you had to re-learn driving and get a new license each time. Similarly, it's attractive to leverage capacity from AWS or Google on an hourly basis as you need it, but it's impractical to re-architect, re-tool, and migrate complex applications from the data center environment to the cloud just for bursty usage. With InfinityDC, Ravello is fundamentally shifting the cloud paradigm."

The Ravello approach allows VMware data centers to expand and shrink in capacity by deploying additional ESXi nodes on-demand inside AWS and Google on an hourly basis - while ensuring that they are centrally managed through a VPN and have the same tools, virtual networking, and storage interfaces as the data center. In addition to enabling seamless cloud usage, and extending the original tool and approach that Ravello went to market with, the company's blueprinting technology reduces provisioning time for complex environments. The existing data center infrastructure gets replicated in the public cloud for immediate consumption.

It would be easy to say that approaches like Ravello's are rendered unnecessary by the success and adoption of containerization. The truth, however, is far more complex than that, and for existing workloads sitting on enterprises' VMware infrastructure, this ability to move and expand some applications to the public cloud but within their existing operational context, makes total sense.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Related:
Must read: Hidden Cause of Slow Internet and how to fix it
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.