Velostrata streams workloads into the cloud to assuage enterprise fears

A technology that decouples storage from compute to move workloads to the cloud faster and easier is out of beta, announced the hybrid cloud vendor behind it.

Velostrata has been letting large and mid-sized enterprise beta customers run its software through its paces for the past eight months, said CEO and co-founder Issy Ben-Shaul, and some have been converted to paying customers.

One of the customers is global manufacturer Guardian Industries Corp., a which has a hybrid cloud strategy that involves making use of the public cloud to extend its private cloud on-demand to improve cost-efficiencies and agility, without disrupting its IT operations. Ben-Shaul said the company is able to easily stream its production workloads to the cloud using Velostrata’s technology, which can move production workloads to and from the cloud in minutes, while at the same time, leaving the storage on-premises. He said the technology does not require an IT department to make changes to the applications, images or storage.

Despite the on-demand capacity and agility the public cloud provides Ben-Shaul said complexity, costs, and risk and all remain barriers for enterprises that might be considering moving business applications such as ERP, online transaction processing (OLTP) or other production workloads with large data sets to the cloud. Velostrata enables them to reduce their data centre footprint and move business application workloads incrementally, on a temporary or long-term basis, without application re-writes and complex conversions.

Ben-Shaul said that business app workloads such as ERP and OLTP have generally not been moved to the cloud and have been cemented on-premises due to a phenomenon he calls “data gravity,” which makes it difficult to move data to the cloud because of the size of data, the complexity of the environment and the time it takes to migrate. Security, of course, is also a factor, he said.

Enterprises also don’t want to get stuck with a lot of data in a single cloud service, added Ben-Shaul. “When you move that amount of data, you’re pretty much stuck there.”

Velostrata’s initial approach was to the challenge the assumption that compute and storage needed to be tightly coupled to get the performance required to run production workloads in the cloud. It provides on-demand hybrid cloud for production, said Ben-Shaul. Essentially, customers are able to take a virtual machine and run it into the cloud without having to replicate.

Ben-Shaul said the company has learned a lot from its beta customers and has developed a roadmap for specific capabilities to be added in the future. One thing that needs to be addressed, for example, was making sure third-party backup operations continued to work uninterrupted.

Velostrata’s management console is integrated into vCenter through a plug-in. Once installed, moving production workloads to and from the cloud is as simple as clicking VMs in vCenter and selecting “run in cloud” or “run on-premises.” Velostrata currently supports vSphere in the data centre and AWS as the cloud target, but support for additional clouds will be coming soon.

Jeffrey Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies, Inc. said there’s no question that Velostrata is tackling a problem that is getting bigger every day as more and more companies consider a move to the ever-expanding cloud. “And it’s not just one cloud,” he said, noting that AWS is “going gangbusters” and Microsoft Azure is also gain momentum. Meanwhile, other players such as Google, IBM and RackSpace are looking to grab more market share. “Velostrata is sitting in the middle of this trying to play traffic cop.”

While Kaplan can’t claim to know whether Velostrata’s technology is the best, the company is certainly focused on a growing challenge facing enterprise customers who are faced with the challenge of migrating a great deal of data to the cloud while keeping it secure. The pitfall for the startup is that others have recognized the problem exists. “It’s a race against time to get the traction,” he said. “It’s a competitive marketplace, so they have to continue to innovate to meet rising customer expectations.”

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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