Ravello Funding Hits $54M for Nested Cloud Virtualization

Ravello's Cloud Application Hypervisor is designed for encapsulating the enterprise app workload. The company is also embracing Docker container technology.

Ravello nested cloud virtualization

Ravello Systems announced on Jan. 20 that it has raised $28 million, bringing its total funding to date to $54 million.

The latest financing round—led by Qualcomm Ventures and SanDisk Ventures, with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Norwest Venture Partners and Vintage Investment Partners—builds on Ravello's February 2013 funding of $26 million, which also helped usher in the beta launch of the company's platform.

Ravello's founders, who formed the company in 2011, came from Qumranet, the company that created the open-source KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine). They used that experience to develop Ravello's nested virtualization technology for cloud deployments.

Enterprise applications are often complex entities with multiple components leveraging compute, storage and networking, and Ravello's Cloud Application Hypervisor technology is designed for encapsulating the enterprise application workload.

"Once [the enterprise workload is] encapsulated, we can run the capsule like a magic carpet on any public or private cloud, without the application being aware of the fact that it's not running in its original location," Rami Tamir, CEO of Ravello Systems told eWEEK.

At the core of the Cloud Application Hypervisor is Ravello's HVX nested hypervisor technology, which is used for the workload encapsulation process. The KVM hypervisor can be run on top of HVX.

"A lot of the knowledge we have came from what we did at Qumranet, although HVX is a totally different technology," said Tamir, who co-founded Qumranet, which Red Hat acquired in 2008. "The brains of HVX is closed source and developed internally by a group of talented individuals working at Ravello."

Among the complexities that enterprises need to consider when moving workloads to the cloud is network configuration. For Ravello's Cloud Application Hypervisor, Tamir explained that each workload capsule runs its own network.

"Enterprise applications typically have complex network configurations, while cloud providers have a different networking model," Tamir said. "So, in order to bridge the gap, we had to create our own overlay network within the capsule."

From a deployment perspective, enterprise applications can often use virtual LAN (VLAN) tags to define local network configuration. A user can simply describe the network infrastructure that they want for a given application workload, Tamir said. Ravello's platform will recreate that configuration, with the same VLAN tags in the same way it runs locally in the enterprise's own location.

The platform is delivered in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, without the need for additional software to be deployed at an enterprise location, although some of Ravello's customers do want to run the platform internally.

"We are working on a complementary solution that allows us to run on-premises as well," Tamir said. "We are in deployment now with a few customers but haven't made that component public yet."

Ravello is also embracing the open-source Docker container technology. Docker—which provides a way for applications to be packaged and delivered in an application virtualization container that runs on a host server or cloud—complements Ravello's offerings, Tamir said.

"We slice the problem at a lower layer and give our customers the ability to run any infrastructure," Tamir said. "Docker is at a higher layer of the stack, and we have quite a few customers running Docker."

Ravello will offer a more closely integrated solution for Docker at some point in the near future, he added.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.