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Ravello is an overlay cloud service on top of public clouds that enables the VMware ecosystem to spin up ESXi environments for development and testing, demos, PoCs, and training


Development and test

ISVs and SIs can spin up full environments on demand in public clouds for manual, automated and scale testing. Enterprises can create replicas of their data center for upgrade testing and PoCs.


Sales enablement

Complete ESXi environments for VMware technology partners and resellers for full fledged, powerful sales demos and customer PoCs without any dependency on data center hardware


Training

Multinode ESXi environments on demand in any region North America, Europe, Asia and Australia for instructor led classroom or virtual training, and self paced hands on labs.


Home Labs

Extend VMware ESXi home labs to the public cloud for additional capacity. Learn VMware and partner products through practice. Snapshot entire environments and turn on/off on demand.

Scenario:

You want to create a VMware ESXi™ lab environment that has 2 ESXi nodes, 1 VMware vCenter™ appliance and shared storage on Public Cloud

1. Build a template ESXi

Follow the instructions here to create a template ESXi using your ISO and a base/ empty ESXi VM in the Ravello library. After a few minutes, you will have an ESXi template image that you can reuse to deploy any size of a VMware vSphere™ environment.

2. Upload your vCenter or install it from scratch

Upload a clone of your existing vCenter VM from your environment using the Ravello upload utility - or install a vCenter VM directly in Ravello from an ova.

3. Build your vSphere infrastructure on Ravello

Drag and drop as many ESXi template images as you need onto the canvas along with the vCenter VM, storage node VMs and any other component of your data center infrastructure (e.g. load balancers, NSX, Active Directory, vCAC, vCOPS etc.).

4. Publish your ESXi/vSphere environment to Public cloud

Once you have defined your vSphere infrastructure, simply publish it to any Ravello cloud region. After the environment is up and running, you can save the entire deployment as a blueprint - and spin up as many copies as you need, on demand. You only pay by the hour, and can add and delete nodes to scale up as required.

 

Now you can turn on your VMware ESXi lab environment when you need it, shut it down when you are done and pay only for usage.

 

 

VMware product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to in the community space are the property of VMware. VMware is not affiliated with Oracle or Ravello Systems or any of Ravello System's employees or representatives. VMware does not sponsor or endorse the contents, materials, or processes discussed on the site.

Public clouds are amazing platforms. They are ideally suited for a variety of workloads. However, one cannot run hypervisors such as KVM or VMware ESXi™ on Public Clouds. This is unfortunate, because the public cloud is an ideal platform for development/testing, demos, PoCs and training environments. This basically locks out the VMware and OpenStack/KVM ecosystem from being able to effectively use on-demand public cloud resources. However, with Ravello’s nested virtualization technology, it is possible to run ESXi (and KVM) on the cloud - with “hardware acceleration”. This opens up a whole host of use-cases for the virtualization (and specifically VMware) ecosystem.

Why one cannot typically run ESXi in the cloud

The reason one cannot typically run a hypervisor in the cloud is that modern hypervisors such as KVM and ESXi need virtualization extensions in silicon (Intel VT/ AMD-V) in order to run. These extensions are not available (or visible) in a cloud VM.

In order to be able to run ESXi natively on Public cloud, the respective virtualization platforms (Xen in the case of AWS and KVM in the case of Google) need to support a “nested virtualization” feature. You can think of this as the hypervisor passing through VT access to the VM. In the meantime, the VMware and KVM/OpenStack ecosystems are stuck. Ravello solves this problem today.

HVX: Virtual infrastructure for the cloud - nested virtualization

At Ravello, we have developed an infrastructure technology we call HVX. One element of HVX is a high performance nested hypervisor that is designed to run on already virtualized hardware (so essentially, in a cloud VM). HVX implements binary translation with direct execution, and exposes VMware or KVM devices (in the form of a platform type) to a VM running on top. As a result, enterprises can take their VMware VMs and run them on Public cloud without making any changes. The VMware VM thinks its running on ESXi but instead its running on HVX.

Ravello's nested hypervisor enables running VMware / KVM workloads on AWS or Google without modification

 

The main use-case for this deployment mode is for enterprises to be able to take existing VMware workloads (VMware VMs along with their networking and storage) and run them in AWS or Google cloud without making any changes. This is ideal for development, test, demo and training environments for applications such as Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange, Oracle, SAP, and network and security appliances from F5, CheckPoint, Juniper and others.

Nested ^2 virtualization: Running ESXi in Public Cloud

Running VMware VMs in Public cloud is one thing. Running the ESXi hypervisor is something else. In order to tackle the latter, Ravello implemented Intel VT/AMD-V technology along with Nested Page Tables (NPT) in software in HVX. This makes a cloud VM look like real physical hardware (a modern server). Since virtualization extensions are now visible in the cloud VM, one can run a hypervisor (designed to run on physical servers) such as ESXi in the cloud VM. The diagram below illustrates the 2 levels of nesting (hence nested ^2).

Through exposing Intel-VT, Ravello's nested virtualization engine enable ESXi to run in the public cloud

As mentioned earlier, HVX does binary translation for kernel code for the nested guest. This is exactly how its also done for the nested^2 guest - except that it is one additional context switch. With this implementation, the guest instructions are executed directly on the physical CPU.

 

We believe that this mode of operation has some tremendous implications for the VMware ecosystem. VMware technology alliance partners (TAP), resellers and solutions provider partners, training partners and enterprise customers - can spin up complete ESXi environments on-demand in Public cloud for development, test, training, demos and PoCs - and pay simply for usage. This capability radically changes their economics as they no longer need to have on-premises lab hardware infrastructure for most use-cases. Spinning up complex ESXi environments in the cloud can cost as little as $0.14 per hour for 2 vCPU/ 4GB RAM chunks.

 

 

VMware product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to in the community space are the property of VMware. VMware is not affiliated with Oracle or Ravello Systems or any of Ravello System's employees or representatives. VMware does not sponsor or endorse the contents, materials, or processes discussed on the site.

Enabling the VMware community, Technology partners, resellers and training partners to develop and test, train users and support customers faster and better using leading clouds.

 

High Performance

Ravello HVX implements Intel VT/ AMDV (including NPT nested pages support) in hardware which enables users to run ESXi with hardware acceleration on leading clouds.

 

Real enterprise data center networking in the cloud

Even though cloud networking is limited, Ravello’s overlay network enables users to build complex data center L2 networking labs on leading clouds

 

Low cost, usage based pricing worldwide

Instead of building hardware labs in their data centers, the VMware ecosystem can spin up ESXi environments starting at $0.14/hr for 2 vCPU/ 4GB RAM chunks in any geography.

 

Elastic/scalable labs

Build labs ranging from 2-3 ESXi nodes all the way up to hundreds or even thousands of nodes to model real world scenarios without depending on existing data center hardware

 

Snapshot/blueprint entire environments

Snapshot multi-node ESXi clusters along with their networking and storage topology. Spin up identical, isolated environments in 5 minutes without any scripting.

Some of you may have VMware ESXi™ labs at home. However, if you are like most people with a limited budget, then your meagre hardware setup is holding you back. Everything changes with Ravello - you can now run your VMware ESXi home lab on leading clouds on-demand.

Lack of hardware is holding back VMware ESXi home labs

Say, you want to test some new ESXi/ VSAN functionality for real, with multiple hosts and you don’t have 8 or 16 servers lying around because that would break the bank and/or make your spouse very unhappy with the cluster clutter. Or say you want to play with your own ESXi/ NSX setup, and really figure out what VMware means by SDN or SDDC but don’t have the hardware. In other words, if you only had more hardware, you could be a virtualization guru and really impress your bosses at work.

Low cost ESXi labs on leading clouds

 

VMware product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to in the community space are the property of VMware. VMware is not affiliated with Oracle or Ravello Systems or any of Ravello System's employees or representatives. VMware does not sponsor or endorse the contents, materials, or processes discussed on the site.

Ravello enables VMware training partners to spin up VMware ESXi™ based environments in any leading cloud region worldwide for training - and pay only for usage.

VMware ESXi environments on leading clouds for training

VMware has over 400,000 customers, partners and ecosystem members. Each of them constantly need training on new VMware and partner products, technologies and new features. Maintaining hardware labs for instructor led classroom or virtual training or self paced learning/ hands on labs is extremely expensive and difficult to maintain. Ravello enables training partners to spin up ESXi based environments in any leading cloud region worldwide for training - and pay only for usage starting at $0.14/ hr for 2 vCPU/ 4GB RAM chunks.

 

VMware product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to in the community space are the property of VMware. VMware is not affiliated with Oracle or Ravello Systems or any of Ravello System's employees or representatives. VMware does not sponsor or endorse the contents, materials, or processes discussed on the site.

VMware Technology Alliance Partners (TAP), Solutions Providers and Reseller Partners need demo environments to showcase their software interoperating with VMware ESXi™. These partners also need to provide custom PoC environments for customers for evaluation and trials. Data center based hardware labs for demos and PoCs are expensive, cumbersome to manage and not nearly flexible enough.

VMware ESXi based sales demos environments on leading clouds

Typically, sales/ systems engineers travel around with large, heavy laptops running nested VMware ESXi in order to do demos for their enterprise customers. In some cases, ISVs maintain a centralized demo lab for their SEs as well as channel partner SEs. Both these approaches have severe drawbacks - demos are not consistent across SEs, it is difficult to demonstrate complete/ complex ESXi scenarios, and it is extremely difficult to manage.

With Ravello, product experts like Technical Marketing Engineers (TMEs) and subject matter expert SEs can create a blueprint of their environment and share it with every systems engineer. Now every SE and partner SE can spin up an identical ESXi environment, on-demand for customer demos in 5 minutes. SEs can also customize this environment for specific customer scenarios. Demo environments can be run on any leading cloud region worldwide and the ISV pays only for usage.

 

 

VMware product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to in the community space are the property of VMware. VMware is not affiliated with Oracle or Ravello Systems or any of Ravello System's employees or representatives. VMware does not sponsor or endorse the contents, materials, or processes discussed on the site.

VMware Technology Alliance Partners (TAP) and OEM partners need development and test lab environments to build complementary products for backup, replication, disaster recovery, networking, monitoring and more. However, building out labs in existing data centers is costly and inflexible. The public cloud is ideal for development and test workloads because they can be turned on and off on-demand. With Ravello, TAP and OEM partners can spin up VMware ESXi™ labs in leading clouds.

Manual testing and QA

Each test/ QA engineer can get access to their own isolated ESXi environment for testing. They can use the Ravello self-service portal and spin up an environment on demand in 5 minutes, and tear it down when done. Test environments could range from simple functional tests to complex customer representative deployments.

Automated testing and CI

ISVs using continuous integration need a lot of environments for testing in parallel. The moment a developer checks in code, Jenkins (or any other CI server) asks Ravello to spin up a number of ESXi environments in parallel in the cloud, runs a battery of automated tests, returns the results and then shuts down the environments.

Scale testing

TAP partners often need to test their products in large scale ESXi environments to ensure that it works for the largest customer deployments. This gets very expensive and nearly impossible, if it has to be done in their data centers. Instead, ISVs can now spin up large scale ESXi environments in leading clouds and pay by the hour. For example, a 500 node ESXi environment would cost ~ $530/hr.

Collaboration

Often, developers have a challenging time reproducing bugs or problems in an environment as reported by QA. This gets even more difficult in complex environments like ESXi. With Ravello, the QA/ testing team can snapshot entire ESXi environments, and simply send a link to engineering. Developers can then easily recreate and fix problems - improving the collaboration between development and QA.

Low cost: starting at $0.14/ hr for 2 vCPU/ 4GB RAM chunks

Data center based development and test labs are expensive and are typically used only during work hours. It is not uncommon to see less than 20% utilization of dev/test hardware. With Ravello, TAP partners/ ISVs can spin up environments on demand and pay only for what they use - giving them more flexibility and scalability with a much lower cost structure.

 

 

 

VMware product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to in the community space are the property of VMware. VMware is not affiliated with Oracle or Ravello Systems or any of Ravello System's employees or representatives. VMware does not sponsor or endorse the contents, materials, or processes discussed on the site.