Development and test Smart Lab technology overview

The Ravello cloud service is powered by HVX, which is a new virtual infrastructure for the public cloud. HVX consists of a high performance nested hypervisor, software defined networking and storage. HVX makes it easy for enterprises to take their existing application environments running on VMware or KVM in their data centers, encapsulate them, and run them in AWS or Google cloud without making any changes.

As an example, one of Ravello’s customers runs a large, complex application development and test environment consisting of 278 VMware Windows virtual machines, 50+ subnets and VLANs, multiple domain controllers, F5 load balancers and Fortinet firewalls - on Ravello on AWS.

It used to take this customer 3 months to provision this environment in their own data center on VMware. Now it takes them 30 minutes to spin up an entire clone of this environment for development, QA or staging.

HVX: nested hypervisor

Unlike traditional hypervisors like VMware ESXi and KVM that are designed to run on physical hardware, HVX is a hypervisor that is designed to run inside a virtual machine. It exposes either VMware or KVM virtual devices to the guest VM running on top. Ravello gets a VM from AWS or Google, installs HVX on it and then runs the enterprises’ VMware or KVM VMs on top without the need for any changes. Everything including the paravirtualized drivers, VMware tools, application configuration remains the same.

HVX software defined networking

One of the biggest issues with traditional “cloud migration” approaches is networking. Enterprise applications often include complex networking - static IPs, DHCP, DNS, firewall rules, VLAN segmentation, load balancing etc. It is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to recreate such network topologies in the public cloud without extensively rewriting the application. In order to solve this problem, the Ravello service includes an overlay network that exposes a clean, isolated L2 network environment to the enterprise application. Enterprises can now create any network topology that their application needs on top of Ravello on top of AWS - including custom L2 and L3 network appliances.

Repeatable deployments via blueprints

Enterprises are used to the concept of being able to take a snapshot of a single virtual machine running on top of VMware or KVM. Ravello extends that concept and allows enterprises to take a snapshot or a blueprint of an entire application environment running on top of Ravello. The state of the disks, memory, network as well as topology meta data is saved as a “blueprint” - which then allows enterprises to spin up as many isolated copies of the environment as they need with the click of a button or a simple API call. The application environments created from a blueprint are identical - down to the same IP addresses, MAC addresses and other networking configuration. This makes it easy for each developer and test engineer to get their own copy of the environment, which helps accelerate and streamline the application development cycle.

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