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Intel and pals toss coins at party in the cloud, business at the back startup

Making it rain while it thinks of X86?

Xeon E3-1500 v5
The Xeon God pumps money into cloud compute bursting, data streaming Velostrata

Startup Velostrata, which provides users with the ability to handle varying workloads on demand in the cloud while keeping data on premises in real time, has added data migration to the cloud, and gained additional funding cash from Xeon God Intel.

With its software tech, full VMs can now be migrated to the cloud and yet still be managed through the on-premises vCenter infrastructure. Velostrata makes much of the ability to cap and/or reduce on-premises IT spending by moving applications and their data to the cloud. It says, for example, testing and development need not now be limited by on-premises resource constraints.

Velostrata v1.0 moved VMware virtual machine compute to the Amazon cloud while leaving storage on-premises – a hybrid operational mode. Now v2.0 adds Azure support and streams data to the AWS and Azure clouds.

How it works

Velostrata produces a software-only product, deployed in vCenter as an OnPrem virtual appliance with Cloud Extensions (CE), known as Edge virtual appliances, automatically deployed in the cloud with dual-node active/active configurations for scale and high availability.

One Edge node is deployed in one AWS Availability Zone (AZ) or Azure fault domain (FD), with a second Edge instance set up in a separate AZ/FD for redundancy and high availability.

A running VM can now be cloned and sent across a VPN to the cloud. All data transmissions are encrypted, as is data at rest.

In hybrid mode, each Edge device supports up to 50 VMs that connect to on-premises storage. If more are needed then Edge devices can be scaled out.

With full migration, on-premises VMs are cloned and moved to the cloud as a thin copy. Then the on-premises VM is booted remotely and its data made available to the cloud instance. There is no Velostrata agent in the booted VM and its data is not replicated to the cloud in the normal way we understand replication. Instead, on-premises data is moved to the cloud as needed, deduplicated and compressed to lower bandwidth requirements and shorten network transmission time.

Velostrata says replication of, for example, a VM with a database, can take hours, days or even weeks, when the on-premises and cloud data instances have to be synchronised. With its tech, the cloud compute can start executing more or less at once and data gets streamed to it as needed. It doesn't say how long it can take for all the data to be migrated, but then it's not as urgent as when you have a traditional replication process.

The in-cloud Edge appliance has a multi-tier, read-write cache that combines in-memory (RAM) caching, SSD, and an object store. For reading, this cache stores the cloud VM's working set of data. Software tries to predict the data that's going to be needed next and pre-fetch it from the on-premises store. Cloud VM-written data goes into this cache too, but then why wouldn't it. A write operations journal is placed in an object store (S3 in AWS or Blob storage in Azure) to ensure there is a resilient data store while data is written back to the on-premises virtual disks.

In the hybrid model, written data is asynchronously moved back to the on-premises store; otherwise it persists in the cloud.

Funding

This Velostrata software development is twinned with B-round funding of $17.5 million, which closely follows last year's $14 million A-round. Intel Capital led the round and the existing investors, Norwest Venture Partners and 83 North, put in money as well. Intel Capital is called a strategic investor because it is investing on behalf of its parent and, we assume, it might bring Velostrata helpful market knowledge, experience, and contacts.

Intel Capital will, we think, be keen on Velostrata because it serves the gods of Xeon, promulgating the idea of using x86 processors and other Intel products in the cloud and on-premises.

Velostrata will use the cash "to accelerate growth, particularly within the mid-to-large enterprise market." That sounds like business infrastructure build-out, with office, channel, sales and marketing components.

It will be adding support for additional public clouds and also extending hypervisor support beyond VMware in the future. We wouldn't be surprised if Velostrata was looking at Google's Cloud and the Hyper-V and KVM hypervisors. Maybe its engineers are checking out containerisation as another hybrid on-premises/public cloud area they could move into.

Check out technical white papers here. A free trial of Velostrata 2.0, which is generally available, can be found at www.velostrata.com. ®


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