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

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In all, I preferred the simplicity of CloudVelocity's constant duplication. The synchronization makes it possible to clone your machines quickly and easily. The clone is ready to go.

But the cost in bandwidth must be pretty high if you're constantly making changes to the file system. Plus, there must be some questions about security risks if you're storing anything valuable on the machine. The cloning tool is a high-powered backdoor even if it's doing exactly what you want.

If you prefer to build your application from scratch and don't want or need the constant copying, Ravello is a simpler solution, though it depends on what you want your clones to be able to do right off the bat. If they're going to serve relatively static data, a blueprint will suffice. But if they're supposed to jump right in and be current with dynamic data, then the CloudVelocity model makes sense.

CloudVelocity is putting much of the focus on recovery from site failures, and this will probably be the biggest market, at least initially. Still, the convenience of having an automatic duplicator for your infrastructure is bound to be a seductive tool that even developers may become addicted to using.

Ravello's tool will be most useful for the developer who's building and testing an evolving system. The ability to move the actual enterprise machines into the cloud and back again is invaluable. Developers can easily re-create problems or bugs encountered in the production system because they're working with an exact replica.

The tool could also be useful for failover, but only when the server blueprint is all that's necessary. If the server doesn't need to track the latest changes, the new clone can take the place of the old. This could be useful during periods of high load when the stock server can step up and do the work.

I imagine that both companies will gradually converge on a tool that meets all of these needs -- development, testing, production, disaster recovery -- in both private and public clouds. Their simplicity solves one of the constant headaches for anyone trying to run a collection of machines. Tossing around applications filled with machines may not be the most elegant or theoretical solution to the problem, but it's simple and effective.

The ultimate message from both Ravello and CloudVelocity is that the idea of the operating system and any kind of software modularization has failed. No one has the time or the energy to handle the permissions, the libraries, the packages, or any of the other details of keeping a machine running. The simplest solution is to think of the entire cluster of machines as one atomic unit that no one can open or touch.

Hybrid cloud wizards at a glance

 CloudVelocityRavello Systems
  • Discovery and cloning tool makes it easy to gather up multiple machines and migrate them to Amazon
  • Synchronization tool allows you to continuously update copies stored in Amazon EBS with any changes made to their on-premise counterparts
  • Automatically creates the Amazon VPC and security groups for your application
  • Allows you to throttle sync bandwidth between data center and cloud
  • Nested hypervisor allows you to run exact replicas of your VMware or KVM virtual machines in the cloud
  • Allows you to take snapshots of entire, multi-tier applications running in the cloud, save those snapshots as blueprints, and return the VMs to your data center
  • Integrates with source control and continuous integration servers
  • Supports Linux, Windows, and multiple clouds
  • Currently works only with the Amazon cloud (Azure support is in the works)
  • Windows support is limited to cloning
  • No data center to cloud synchronization capabilities
  • Nested hypervisor and overlay network introduce an additional layer of abstraction and overhead
PricingAnnual licenses based on number of servers and use cases. Pricing starts around $25,000 per year for smaller environments or one-time usage. A 50-server migration would cost about $85,000.Pricing is based on the number of vCPUs and amount of RAM in your application, the complexity of the application (higher cost for multiple private IPs per VM, multiple subnets, or L2 networking appliances), and the amount of VM storage and network bandwidth consumed. See Ravello's pricing details and cost calculator.

This article, "Review: Dueling hybrid cloud wizards," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in application development, cloud computing, and open source at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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