Ravello Ends its Silence

On 23 May, I attended the Oracle Blogger Day at HQ in Redwood City. Ravello, an Oracle family member, has been quiet ever since acquisition. After an excellent day spent deep-diving into the product, I think it is safe to say that Ravello will be silent no more.

If you are not familiar with Ravello, it is an overlay cloud service that allows you to take any VMware based multi-VM application and run it in the cloud. This can be done without any change to workload, storage, or the network configuration. Ravello allows you to seamlessly deploy your existing VMware or KVM based data center workloads on Oracle Public Cloud, AWS, or Google Cloud as-is.

 

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On-premises to cloud migration

Most organizations face challenges when moving an enterprise application to the cloud. This image outlines some of the considerations and difficulties.

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Challenges when moving enterprise application to the cloud

Ravello creates a software layer that abstracts the differences between on-premises and cloud infrastructure (networking, storage, virtualization).

The heart and soul of Ravello is HVX. HVX is a virtualization engine designed specifically for nesting. This is what allows vExperts to easily run ESXi hosts in their cloud service without issue. HVX is designed to run on already virtualized hardware using binary translation with direct execution. It exposes VMware or KVM virtual devices, which is why no changes to the VM are required.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 6.17.49 PM

HVX technology overview

But most impressively, it allows you to run any VM in any cloud. Or so they say.

Currently in Ravello, you can add and/or remove NICs, do simple IP filtering, but not much more. One of the items that was demoed by the team was enhanced network editing. The upcoming new networking capabilities include a visual network topology that allows for the creation of switches, configuration of ports, subnets, VLANs, etc.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 6.18.12 PM

Ravello network overlay

Considering how rudimentary networking has been with Ravello, this enhancement will be warmly welcomed once released.

The storage overlay abstracts underlying cloud storage, exposing block devices to the guests. Ravello uses an image caching, copy on write file system.

Screen Shot 2017-06-04 at 6.18.27 PM

Ravello storage overlay

Transparent RAID0 is used, as needed, for large disks.

At this point, you may be wondering where Oracle is going with Ravello. Imagine deep integration with Oracle Cloud — a true lift and shift to the cloud with even heavy enterprise workloads. Think:

  • Ravello on Oracle’s Bare Metal Cloud Service (BMCS)
  • Leverage virtualization with hardware assist
  • Integration of BMCS and Ravello networking

So, where does this fit for businesses?

  • If Oracle and Ravello can really deliver on a “lift and shift” type migration without need for redesign or reconfigure then this will ease transition into the cloud.
  • Creation of identical cloud resources matching that of on-premises for security or penetration testing, update testing, etc.
  • Identical but isolated environments, such as for educational purposes.

Ultimately, I am glad to see that Ravello is still around and that its use cases are growing. Being integrated with Oracle Cloud has propelled towards becoming a more evolved platform. A big issues that I’ve seen as a consulting architect is the difficult and complex migration of legacy applications from on-premises to the cloud.

All in all, as far as Oracle Cloud and Ravello have come, there is still a lot of work to be done. I’m looking forward to what future releases bring.

 

Thank you to Oracle, Ravello, and the Tech Reckoning crew (John, Kat, Amy) for inviting me out to the inaugural blogger day. 

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