VM Import could be a game changer for hybrid clouds

The ability to replicate VMs between private data centers and public clouds could make the hybrid cloud a reality

Amazon Web Services' new VM Import feature could be a game changer for hybrid cloud deployments. The product allows IT departments to move virtual machine images from their internal data centers to the cloud, as needed. Many applications can benefit from this neat little trick. The low-hanging fruit is disaster recovery, as well as any migration to the cloud required to bring more capacity online by allocating additional VMs.

The process is pretty simple. "To import images, IT departments use Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) API tools to point to a virtual machine image in their existing environment. Next, they specify the amount of compute capacity they need and where they want to run the image in Amazon's cloud platform. VM Import will then automatically transfer the image file, migrate the image, and create the instance in Amazon's cloud," says Amazon.com.

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However, VM images are huge, and because of current bandwidth restrictions, the thought of doing this on a daily basis is a bit unreasonable. Then again, moving images up to the cloud over the weekend to protect against a business-killing outage is not a bad approach, considering your infrastructure is ready and waiting if you lose your internal systems.

The greater potential of VM Import is the free migration of virtual images between internal data centers and cloud providers, letting IT mix and match resources across traditional systems (private clouds) and public clouds. This feature will have strong value in letting you replicate VM images between on-premise and cloud-delivered platforms, as well as load balancing among them operationally.

I believe this type of hybrid cloud architecture functionality at the VM level will give enterprises the flexibility and bet-hedging approach they need to lower the risk of moving to the cloud. You can't blame them, and now it's here.

This article, "VM Import could be a game changer for hybrid clouds," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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