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Running VMware VMs on Ravello HVX versus installing ESXi hypervisor itself on Ravello

We recently announced general availability of InceptionSX which lets you run the nested ESXi hypervisor on AWS or Google Cloud. But for the last two years we have had customers running their enterprise application environments with VMware VMs and complex networking on Ravello using just HVX.

The setup, install and performance is entirely different for the two So here is a quick cheat sheet explaining the differences.

 HVX: Running VMware VMs or virtual appliances on RavelloInceptionSX: Running nested ESXi hypervisor on Ravello
Useful for
  1. Labs for enterprise applications (virtualized workloads) such as Sharepoint, Oracle, custom Java or .Net applications
  2. Labs for VMware virtual appliances such as F5, CheckPoint, Arista, Cisco
  1. Labs for testing hypervisor features such as long distance vMotion, and related VMware products such vCenter, VSAN, NSX, vRealize Operations etc and VMware partner products such as Veeam, Zerto, Nutanix etc which need the hypervisor itself as part of the lab
Architecture VMware AWS Google Ravello
You can run all your virtualized enterprise workloads with existing VMware VMs and existing VMware virtual appliances on Ravello HVX, without any VM conversions required.

Ravello has developed a nested hypervisor with software-defined networking, called HVX, that runs in cloud VMs instead of running on bare metal servers. It runs on AWS/Google and exposes the same VMware interfaces, drivers, networking that the application expects. This mode is called HVX.

VMware ESXi AWS Google Ravello
Without Ravello, it is not possible to run ESXi on AWS/Google Cloud. This is because the ESXi hypervisor, at boot time, looks for hardware extensions and instead discovers that AWS is running Xen and Google is running KVM. However, Ravello HVX exposes hardware extensions like IntelVT and AMD SVM in the public cloud so that you can run the ESXi hypervisor on it if required. This is for use cases where you need to test ESXi hypervisor features and this mode is called InceptionSX.
Typical use cases
  1. Enterprise app dev/test environments
  2. Sales demos, POCs for any software environment such as virtual appliances
  3. Virtual training labs in the cloud
  4. Self-learning/ home labs for enterprise applications, virtual appliances
  1. ESXi dev/test environments for hypervisor or software with ESXi modules
  2. ESXi sales demos, POCs
  3. ESXi or vSphere virtual training labs
  4. Self-learning/ home labs for ESXi, vCenter, NSX, VSAN etc
PerformanceHVX is very lightweight and hardly adds any performance overhead. Expect to see the same overhead as going from physical to virtual when going from virtual to Ravello.InceptionSX is running ESXi on HVX on either Xen (AWS) or KVM (Google). The performance is still very good but slightly lower than just HVX due to the extra layer of nesting
Installation & licensingNo ESXi install or licensing requiredInstall your own vSphere ISO and use your own vSphere license

About Ravello Systems

Ravello is the industry’s leading nested virtualization and software-defined networking SaaS. It enables enterprises to create cloud-based development, test, UAT, integration and staging environments by automatically cloning their VMware-based applications in AWS. Ravello is built by the same team that developed the KVM hypervisor in Linux.


Check our product demo video

Running VMware VMs on Ravello HVX versus installing ESXi hypervisor itself on Ravello
Shruti Bhat

By Shruti Bhat

Shruti Bhat is the VP of Marketing at Ravello Systems. Prior to Ravello, Shruti was a virtualization junkie at VMware, where she managed the software-defined storage product line. She combines her MBA at UCLA Anderson with a bachelor’s in computer science engineering and has previously led R&D teams at IBM and HP as well as immersed herself in start-ups.
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