Virtustream Set To Release xStream 3.0

Two things that make Virtustream unique as a cloud service provider are that the company has developed an enterprise-grade cloud management platform and it offers that platform, xStream, as a managed service and as stand-alone software.

Virtustream is set to make available in the last week of July its newest update to the platform, xStream 3.0, as software to power its customers’ private and hosted public clouds along with its own public cloud.

Virtustream engineered xStream with enterprises running mission-critical production applications in mind.

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Simon Aspinall, Virtustream chief marketing officer, told CRN that xStream 3.0 includes the most significant upgrades to the platform since its initial release a couple years ago.

’It’s probably the largest we’ve done in two years since we launched the software,’ Aspinall said.

The 3.0 release adds powerful enterprise risk management capabilities like geo-fencing, continuous compliance and vulnerability monitoring along with a big data analytic engine. It also, for the first time, integrates OpenStack support, with users able to provision and run OpenStack workloads through the xStream user interface.

xStream 3.0 offers dynamic security and compliance capabilities that look across the entire IT infrastructure -- cloud or non-cloud -- at any point in time, assess all threats and risk areas and return a list of prioritized security and compliance concerns that customers can immediately address, Aspinall said.

Virtustream, a privately held IaaS provider, launched five years ago with an early focus on enterprise applications for private sector and government customers. The company’s channel partners are comprised of telecoms, systems integrators and smaller cloud service providers that co-brand or white-label xStream as their own product. Those companies then sell their services through their own VAR channels.

Virtustream developed its own technical approach after being disappointed with what it found on the market to deliver virtualized cloud environments for large customers, according to Aspinall.

’The reality of enterprise IT is multiple applications, multiple data sets. We wanted to solve the problem of how you take that to the cloud without giving up on everything you’ve already been doing on the enterprise IT side,’ he told CRN.

Building on top of a VMware virtualization stack, Virtustream’s developers built xStream as a management layer to add performance, security and compliance features desired by its customers. Those enterprises were running software requiring heavy-duty state applications that expect dedicated hardware from vendors like Oracle, Microsoft and SAP.

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’So we engineered into the control layer a way to allocate storage, networking, memory and compute. The application always gets what it needs to run, while in effect sharing resources with all the other applications in the system,’ Aspinall said, adding ’that model has worked extremely well for us.’

Aspinall said xStream offers guaranteed performance for those mission-critical apps and multi-tenant efficiency that can ’squeeze another 20 to 25 percent out of a really good virtualization environment.’

The software offers 16 layers of defense, tools that detect dynamic security and compliance threats, as well as malware protection, data flow controls and privacy compliance features.

The IaaS service has steadily grown, with some 500 large customers adopting the Virtustream cloud for running core applications in just the last few years. At the same time, the company realized there was tremendous demand for using its software to implement private or hybrid clouds. Much of the demand was being driven by telecoms and system integrators who wanted to deliver the services themselves, as well as government agencies and enterprises wanting to build private, on-premise clouds.

For that reason, about two years ago, Virtustream turned the software it had developed for use in its own data centers into a product it could sell.

Since then, Virtustream has added a number of large service providers to its customer base, including ViON, Earthlink and telecoms in Brazil and Saudi Arabia. IBM recently adopted xStream software to power SAP and SAP HANA environments on its Softlayer cloud.

The 3.0 release also adds an application-management framework called xStream AppDirector that allows streamlined integration in the cloud for packaged and custom applications, as well as enhanced data protection policies that allow monitoring for geo-location to ensure resources and data aren’t moved into non-compliant environments.

Other new features include predictive analytics that allow customers with limited technical experience to dynamically optimize their cloud environments and flexible billing options that only charge for resources used.