Ravello Cloud Service (on Bare Metal)

October 26, 2017 | Views: 3022

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It could be an ice cream, it might be a pasta, it’s definitely a town on the Amalfi Coast… but it’s also an ingenious nested virtualization cloud service. Ravello was founded in 2011 by 2 serial entrepreneurs, Benny Schnaider and Rami Tamir, who along with their team of developers also created the KVM hypervisor (Qumranet, acquired by Red Hat).

Ravello is delivered as a SaaS service, with a virtualization layer sitting on top of a multi-cloud infrastructure (it can be AWS, Google Cloud Platform or Oracle Cloud Infrastructure). What’s unique about Ravello is that it enables you to move your on-premise VMWare (or KVM) applications to the cloud without any change whatsoever… so you are running an identical virtualization stack in an encapsulated (with L2 networking access) environment. Ravello’s HVX nested hypervisor allows you to run existing multi-VM environments unmodified in the cloud… so everything is identical, right down to the physical MAC addresses. This is enabled by an SDN that virtualizes the connectivity between the VMs in an application. This virtual network is completely user-defined and can include multiple subnets, routers, and supplemental services such as DHCP, DNS servers, and firewalls. The virtual network can be made to look exactly like a data center network.

Ravello’s unique features enable a broad range of use cases. Looking at cybersecurity alone, you can avail of the L2 networking access to create your own fenced-off pentesting environment, use it as a training lab for the OSCP or see how Simspace provides on-demand cyber ranges to mirror your corporate environment. Ravello can complement Oracle’s overall Cloud Security offering. Sharing resources is easy, you can share a blueprint of an entire environment (multi-VM application with granular network configuration, not just a single VM) seamlessly.

Ravello’s unique features:

Create your own environment:

Simspace:

Oracle’s Cloud Security offering:

Evolution of Virtualization

So what’s new with Ravello? You can now run it directly on Bare Metal servers. To understand what this means, let’s look at what went before.

Conventional hypervisors such as VMware ESX, KVM and Xen are designed to run on physical x86 hardware and use virtualization extensions offered by modern CPUs (Intel VT and AMD SVM) to virtualize the Intel architecture.

HVX, on the other hand, is Ravello’s nested hypervisor that runs inside a virtual machine, where these hardware extensions are not normally available. So instead, HVX employs a technology called Binary Translation to implement high-performance virtualization that does not require these virtualization extensions. So what you don’t see when using Ravello is the HVX hypervisor, which can be thought of as a full-blown high-performance hypervisor similar to Xen or ESX. The differentiator is it is nested, running on top of public IaaS.

 

Ravello now runs directly on bare metal servers, another example of how Oracle’s next Generation infrastructure enables dramatic improvements. You can now run much ‘beefier’ applications (up to 32 vCPUs, 200GB RAM) and benefit from 14x performance gains. You can sanity-check this claim by running an Oracle Database with Swingbench in an OCI-enabled region (Phoenix, Ashburn & soon Frankfurt) versus a region such as ‘eu-west’ or any region with software-based nested virtualization (the left option above). Looking to free up data center space on premise and not worry about licensing issues? …See how easy it is to now run a RAC cluster on Ravello. You don’t even need VMware licenses to run VMware apps on Ravello.

You can dig further into the inner workings with this Technical white paper and the official documentation.

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