Ravello Systems Tames Public Cloud, Makes It Friendly Place For App Testing


Ravello Systems, a startup whose founders created the KVM open source hypervisor, launched a SaaS offering Wednesday that lets enterprises tap into the virtually unlimited capacity of the public cloud to test their on-premise apps.

This is important because enterprises are under pressure to build apps faster to keep pace with business needs. Many are using Agile development methods, and they need to test their apps in a replica of their own environment to make sure bugs aren't getting through to the final product.

But, testing apps requires a lot of free capacity, more than most enterprises have available in their data centers.

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Public clouds from Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, HP and others have plenty of capacity, but the public cloud is very different from the enterprise data center, which means apps have to undergo major changes in order to run on it.

Ravello Systems' new service makes the public cloud look and feel like an enterprise data center from a testing standpoint, Navin Thadani, senior vice president of products At Ravello Systems, told CRN.

With Ravello's service, "You can take your virtual machine apps, exactly as they're running in your data center, and put them in the public cloud to test them," Thadani said in an interview. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company launched a beta of the service in February and has been fine tuning it since then, he said

Infrastructure automation is tough to pull off, and Ravello does it with its proprietary cloud application hypervisor, which lets customers take virtual machines from VMware or Red Hat (KVM) and run them on any public cloud without making any changes to the app, Thadani said.

In cases where an app uses multiple virtual machines running in a data center, Ravello uses a proprietary technology called an I/O Overlay, which uses software-defined networking to ensure storage and networking resources stay connected when the app is being tested in the public cloud.

Most enterprises today are approaching the app-testing issue by statically provisioning their environments. But according to Thadani, that's an inefficient development process.

Others are using some level of app automation and configuration management, but these aren’t solving the whole problem, he added. "It's really hard to automate the whole infrastructure," said Thadani.

Ravello Systems' service is priced on a per-user basis, and costs are calculated based on the size and complexity of the app, and whether it's optimized for speed or for performance, Thadani said.

Ravello Systems was founded in February 2011 by former co-founders of Qumranet, which was acquired by Red Hat in 2008. Ravello Systems landed $26 million in funding in February from Sequoia Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners.

PUBLISHED AUG. 14, 2013