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Ravello Systems gets the KVM band back together

Stealthy startup plots course to clouds

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It looks like the people behind Qumranet, who brought us the KVM hypervisor, are getting back together to cook up some new cloudy wares.

Navin Thadani, formerly senior director of the virtualization business at commercial Linux distributor and cloud fabric wannabe Red Hat, has taken the SVP of product management and marketing post at stealthy Israeli startup Ravello Systems.

Ravello Systems logo

That Thadani has jumped form Red Hat to Ravello is not at all surprising, given that Ravello was co-founded by Benny Schnaider and Rami Tamir. According to a report in Ynetnews, the two founded Ravello Systems in early 2011 and last September raised $10m from Sequoia Fund and Norwest Venture Partners, two venture capital firms that kicked in funds to Qumranet, the creator of the KVM hypervisor and management system that was acquired by Red Hat in September 2008 for $107m. Thadani had the product management and marketing post at Qumranet, working for Schnaider and Tamir, who did a few years at Red Hat, running the KVM development center in Israeli, before wandering off to do yet another startup. The two co-founders of Ravello Systems kicked in another $1m of their own cashish to get the stealth company rolling.

Schnaider and Tamir are keeping mum on what they have planned – its web site is devoid of anything but a logo and a notice that it is hiring.

"We are looking for A+ people to join us in our mission to re-define cloud computing," the site says. "In Ravello you will be working with cutting edge cloud and virtualization technologies as well as scalable backend Java based systems."

The report in Ynetnews says that Ravello is looking to add another layer of abstraction between hardware and software much like the KVM hypervisor, but rather than virtualizing and partitioning the hardware for multiple stacks to use it at the same time, this new Ravello layer will "facilitate communications between separate computers."

Presumably this means making a bridge between internal compute resources and external public clouds, but it is hard to say. The abstraction layer may help companies take big fat Java applications and throw them out onto clouds.

Whatever the Schnaider and Tamir are up to, both have been directors of engineering at Cisco Systems and have sold two companies – Pentacom and P-Cube – to Cisco for a total of $320m and will no doubt try to grow something new that they can flip. If it is a cloud fabric and platform cloud for running Java applications, as seems likely, then it might be something that someone other than Red Hat is interested in acquiring. Red Hat, of course, has its own OpenShift platform-as-a-service public cloud and its CloudForms infrastructure-as-a-service private cloud. If what Schnaider and Tamir were trying to do made sense for Red Hat, they would not have left to start Ravello. So maybe this time it will make sense for IBM, Dell, or Hewlett-Packard. We'll know a few years from now. ®

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