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Out Of Stealth, Velostrata Announces A Hybrid Cloud Solution With A Twist

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

Enterprises have been searching for a way to take advantage of cloud computing without incurring the risks that are typically associated with the public cloud for some time now. Meanwhile, a stealthy Silicon Valley startup has been busy working on a solution that enables organizations to leverage the cloud while keeping all storage on-premises. Velostrata's upcoming hybrid cloud solution allows for workloads to be streamed to and from the cloud in real time without having to move storage to the cloud. In effect, Velostrata is creating an on-demand hybrid cloud option that minimizes the risks and costs of migrating storage to the cloud.

"Since the inception of the company, we've been developing a technology that for the first time ever enables enterprise customers to stream workloads from on-premises into the public cloud in a matter of minutes while keeping the associated storage on-premises," Issy Ben-Shaul, CEO and Founder of Velostrata, told Tom's IT Pro in an interview, "and providing an end-to-end optimized channel connecting the compute in the cloud with the storage on-premises."

Velostrata's unique technology decouples compute from storage without sacrificing performance. The company is disproving the assumption that compute and storage must be tightly coupled in order to maintain adequate performance, Ben-Shaul explained, which removes some key barriers that keep many organizations away from utilizing the public cloud.

"We talked to a lot of customers as part of our exploration of the market and the needs. One of the common complaints that we were hearing is that in order to use the public cloud, you have to move storage permanently to the cloud," said Ben-Shaul.

In addition to the security and compliance risks of having data in the cloud, the added costs of cloud storage, and the time and complexity involved in migrating to the cloud, enterprise customers also want to avoid vendor lock-in. Ben-Shaul explained that Velostrata allows organizations to use the cloud without being tied to a specific cloud vendor, as there's never a need for reverse migration, and compute images can be moved easily at any time. In addition, the tool allows organizations to do dynamic resource management, all in real time.

So how does Velostrata's solution work? At a high level, the startup's solution is built on three important components. One is the ability to stream boot images without having to replicate them in the cloud.

"Think of this as streaming media; you don't download the entire movie in order to start watching it. In the same way, we are able to take boot images that are sitting on the VMware infrastructure, on-premises, and essentially boot them directly to the cloud without having to replicate them into Amazon, convert them into Amazon instances and boot them from the cloud, which is how other solutions work," Ben-Shaul explained. "You don't need to move anything except for what's needed for the system to run, so only a fraction of the image needs to be there."

Velostrata Architecture (click on image to see full size)Velostrata Architecture (click on image to see full size)The second component is a virtual appliance called "cloud edge" that acts as a proxy to the VMs in the cloud and connects to the data stores as well as another virtual appliance on-premises. The final component is what orchestrates all of this, and it's built into the hypervisor. IT departments will be able to utilize the same management tools and processes that they use in their virtualized environments. Today, beta customers can use Amazon Web Services and VMware's vSphere, but Velostrata's vision is to be "cloud agnostic," Ben-Shaul said, so that organizations can easily move between AWS, Azure and other cloud solutions, private to public and public to public, all using standard APIs.

Ben-Shaul's team has many years of expertise in the areas of WAN optimization, intelligent streaming, caching and storage. Previously, Ben-Shaul co-founded a WAN optimization company called Actona, which was acquired by Cisco in 2004, as well as a desktop virtualization company called Wanova, which was acquired by VMware in 2012.

The five primary use cases that Velostrata has identified for its solution include:

  • Data center extension -- move VMs from overloaded on-premises hosts to the cloud to restore performance and stability.
  • Cloud bursting -- provision the data center for average utilization and burst to the cloud on-demand during peak times.
  • Storage consolidation -- consolidate storage to a centralized data center while running VMs remotely in the cloud without impacting performance.
  • Hybrid Disaster Recovery (DR) -- provide site-to-site DR without the additional cost and complexity of duplicating compute resources at the remote site.
  • Dev/Test -- spin-up VMs in the cloud in minutes without migrating images or storage. Use cloud storage to either store temporary data and automatically sync results on-premises, or have all data persist in the cloud.

"Our vision for Velostrata is to enable frictionless hybrid clouds for any workload in real time. Today, hybrid cloud deployments have largely been limited to corner-cases, because there are just far too many barriers involved for general-purpose use, and in particular, customers don't want to move their large production data assets permanently to the cloud," said Ben-Shaul. "At Velostrata, we have developed a breakthrough technology that eliminates those barriers, and our unique approach has already transformed the hybrid cloud strategy for our large enterprise users."

Velostrata's solution is currently in beta and is expected to be generally available before the end of 2015. The company will be showcasing its solution at VMware's VMworld conference, taking place next week in San Francisco, California.

Velostrata is also announcing $14 million in Series A funding led by Norwest Venture Partners and Greylock IL Partners in order to further develop the company's product roadmap and operations.