Hybrid cloud wizards: CloudVelocity and Ravello Systems

CloudVelocity's One Hybrid Cloud and Ravello Systems' Cloud Application Hypervisor move clones of in-house servers into the cloud for development, testing, and disaster recovery

In the beginning, there was one block of bytes that was called "the application." Perhaps you toggled it into the front panel of the computer, perhaps you handed someone a deck of punch cards, or perhaps you dragged a single EXE file into your favorite folder. But there was one thing that was the application -- one tangible, immutable, unopenable thing -- and it was relatively easy to move or duplicate.

Those days are ancient history now. Today's applications are multilayered, multitiered, service-enabled, and often as dependent on a certain server cluster as on a specific operating system version. Naturally, even as "the application" becomes more and more complex, we want to make it more and more portable. It's no longer enough to migrate the virtual machines from server to server. Now we want to move the app from one data center to another, or from the data center to Amazon EC2.

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Enter two companies that are changing the game and creating one of the largest abstraction layers I've ever seen, all in the hopes of conquering the myriad layers of dependencies and making it possible to move server farms from here to there without pulling out your hair. Ravello Systems and CloudVelocity are creating the tools for juggling virtual machines from the data center to the cloud and back again.

The two companies confused me at first with their use of the word "application." Ravello and CloudVelocity are using the word to refer to something different than a pile of bytes or a collection of files (although that's what it is ultimately). They're not even using the word to describe a working group of virtual machines.

When Ravello or CloudVelocity say "application," they mean a cluster of what we used to call computers and all the information inside of them. After all, what we call a computer when we purchase it from a cloud company is just another program wrapped around your software. Together, these programs make a bigger program, and we might as well call it an application because that's closer to the reality in the cloud.

Once you have the Ravello or CloudVelocity system up and running, you can go to a website, click a few times, and clone a big collection of virtual machines all at once. Bingo -- then you can keep them running or shut them down or spin up 30 clones, all to handle failovers or extra loads or troubleshooting or testing, whatever you want. CloudVelocity focuses on migrations and disaster recovery, while Ravello leverages the public cloud for the development and testing of applications that will be deployed on-premise.

The Ravello and CloudVelocity systems take a different approach to juggling all the machines. While some folks are building elaborate rules for installing all the software in the new compute instances using tools like Puppet or Chef, Ravello and CloudVelocity just make clones, then clone them again.

InfoWorld Scorecard
Interoperability (15.0%)
Ease of use (25.0%)
Documentation (20.0%)
Value (10.0%)
Features (30.0%)
Overall Score (100%)
CloudVelocity One Hybrid Cloud 7.0 9.0 8.0 8.0 8.0 8.1
Ravello Systems Cloud Application Hypervisor 8.0 8.0 8.0 8.0 8.0 8.0
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