Engaging the cloud is akin to warfare — it always comes down to strategy. For enterprises considering a cloud deployment, there are a specific set of challenges that stand in the way.
One of the main issues is often what, exactly, your organization will include in its cloud strategy. This is magnified in conversations around public and hybrid cloud, as it cedes some of the control out to a third-party. Most of the time, the uneasiness is due to privacy and security concerns around data.
The storage layer, which houses that data, is often "coupled" with the computer tier, which is the processing arm of the data center, meaning you often have to move both to the cloud at the same time. However, a startup called Velostrata recently emerged from stealth with a solution that breaks up that relationship between the compute and storage layers, decoupling them so that organizations can move compute to the cloud and keep the storage on-premise.
Velostrata CEO and co-founder Issy Ben-Shaul said that the company's technology enables users to stream workloads from on-premises to the public cloud in a few minutes — a process that normally takes weeks or months. And, it does this while keeping the storage on-premise and providing a channel that keeps it connected to the compute.
The product, which Velostrata calls "industry's first real-time hybrid cloud solution," has been in development for the past 18 months, and the company recently raised $14 million in funding from venture capital investors such as Norwest Venture Partners and Greylock Partners.
Ben-Shaul said one of the major barriers to entry in the cloud is not being able to reverse back to on-premise. Being that Velostrata only moves lightweight compute workloads, he said users will be able to easily move back to on-premise. In fact, he said, it's even faster to move back than it is to initially move your compute to the cloud.
The company is currently in beta with a few customers, including a top five auto manufacturer. Guardian Industries, one of the beta customers, moved its ERP system and was able to do it in about 20 minutes.
Another barrier to entry that Velostrata addresses is security. It can be difficult to trust a public cloud service with your data, especially if it contains highly sensitive information.
"The fact that our boot images (the actual programs that run) are essentially booted from on-premise and boot in a diskless manner in the cloud, means that there are no disks that can be attacked," Ben-Shaul said.
Your data at rest doesn't permanently reside in the cloud, so it stays protected on-premise.
The only requirement right now, Ben-Shaul said, is that the customer must be moving virtualized workloads. The initial version runs on the VMware platform, but it will expand to other platforms as the company expands its roadmap.
Upon plugging Velostrata into their existing management console, users simply right click on one or more virtual machines (VMs) and select "run in cloud," and they will begin running in the cloud in a few minutes. Velostrata takes care of network configuration, images, and software, Ben-Shaul said.
Additionally, users can automate policy depending on things like your utilization bill as a threshold for when certain workloads should be moved to and from the cloud. No changes to applications, images, or storage are required, and users can continue using the same management tools they've been using.
Some of the key uses cases include:
- Data center extension
- Cloud bursting
- Storage consolidation
- Hybrid disaster recovery (DR)
Michael Kracker, a network engineer at beta customer TechSmith, said that the key for his company is the ability to keep the storage internal.
"We have some test environments and such that we will balloon out in our existing VMware clusters and we occasionally run into capacity issues of too many VMs in the environment," Kracker said. "Sometimes it's nice to spin off a few VMs to another environment without taking the time to copy all the data to a cloud service and then either copy it back or worry about deleting it."
TechSmith had worked with someone on the Velostrata team when he was at a previous company. When he moved to Velostrata, he asked them to test the product. Kracker said he likes having the ability to take a QA test environment and expand it with the same parameters on the fly.
It took five minutes to do a transition from a running system to boot it up in their AWS environment, Kracker said, which could spell problems if you need to make serial transitions.
In building out the product, the Velostrata team used C++ as the data task language and Java for management plane. Currently, they're also working on a container solution similar to their cloud solution, Ben-Shaul said.
Velostrata will use its recent funding to work on its product roadmap as well as expand its teams in Europe and the US. Those interested can request a demo here.
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Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.