Rami Tamir and Benny Schnaider are a pretty safe bet. The pair have cofounded several successful businesses, among them Pentacom (purchased by Cisco), Qumranet (acquired by Red Hat), and the now-standard hypervisor KVM.
Now, the two are looking to change the hybrid cloud market with HVX, what they’re calling the first cloud application hypervisor that enables developers to replicate their existing applications and run them on any cloud—public or private—without having to make changes.
And investors are again betting on the pair, as their new venture—Ravello Systems—announced this week that it closed a second round of funding with Sequoia Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners. Ravello now has raised US$26 million to build out its application hypervisor.
“We’re building what we feel is the next generation of virtualization,” said Schnaider, Ravello’s president and board chairman. Ravello’s software, he explained, creates a cloud application capsule that includes virtual machines, databases, and appliances that can be used to create testing and production environments. “As a self-contained standalone application, it can run on any cloud we support without any modification whatsoever,” he said.
HVX, the Hypervisor Extension now in public beta, sits between the hypervisor layer and the application layer in a virtualized environment, providing what Schnaider called “a full overlaid network” atop the cloud. “At Qumranet, we did virtualization that was monolithic and required moving the VM from one physical machine to another. We’re doing the same thing now, but one layer up. Instead of one VM, we’ve created an application capsule with multiple VMs. And instead of one physical server, we have the cloud.”
Ravello’s HVX also plugs into continuous integration systems, so the system can provision multiple replicas of the production application every time the code is checked in, according to the company’s announcement of HVX.
This, he said, will help drive adoption of public clouds. A big problem today is that the public cloud environment differs from the internal environment, requiring different processes that force developers to have to recode and retest their applications before deploying. This prevents organizations from running predictable loads in their private data centers and running variable loads on a public cloud, Schnaider explained.
HVX provides consolidation at the virtual machine layer, enabling the use of multiple virtual machines to run in the layer above the hardware. Users register via a browser, then upload the VMs created in the private data center. Those VMs can be configured with the application already built in, along with operating system, storage, router, firewall, load balancer and database, for example.
After the upload, the user is presented with a canvas onto which he or she can drag and drop virtual machines for connectivity. “The user defines the connection, and our system will put together a software-defined network based on what was selected,” Schnaider said. Then, the system gets deployed, with options presented for a particular cloud and different server availability zones, he continued.
“You can edit the VM, the network, the storage, all while it’s running,” he said. “You can save it to a disk to use later on, and you can create a replica—we take care of naming, IP addresses, etc.—to create a system identical to yours.”