Ravello Systems have certainly had there fair share of buzz lately and rightly so – the shear fact that you can run a 64 bit VM, on top of a nested ESXi host, on top of their hypervisor (HVX), on either Amazon or Google Cloud is to say at the least – the bomb!
I’ve had the chance to work with Ravello during their nested ESXi beta along with a few other bloggers and was blown away by the performance they provided while doing the exact scenario as described above. I did a few posts on Ravello, one which involved a vMotion from Amazon AWS to Google Cloud if you’d like to check it out! Needless to say I’m excited to see Ravello IRL at VFD5 on June 26 in Boston. Also, I’ve heard through the grapevine that long-time Toronto VMUG attendee and friend Kyle Bassett will be part of the presentation – Kyle is a brilliant mind so you won’t want to miss it!
A home lab replacement?
In a lot of ways I can get the performance that I need in order to replace my home lab! That said I’m no where near as extravegant when it comes to homelabs as a lot of people in these communities. When it comes down to it though, a lot that I do within the lab is configuration validation, testing different setups, etc. All of this is easily accomplished in Ravello! In fact in some ways I can do a lot more within Ravello then I can within my own home lab. Stringing together two datacenters, one in Google, one in Amazon via VXLAN for example! For the most part I’m finding myself working more in cloud platforms than in my basement any more.
Bells and whistles
I would be selling Ravello short if I just said they allowed you to run nested ESXi in Amazon – they have a lot of value add, bells and whistles so to speak that make the service what it is.
Firstly they have what’s called an application – an application is essentially one or more VMs that perform some sort of function. You could think of a couple ESXi hosts, a vCenter Server and some sort of iSCSI storage appliance as an application. Applications and be started and stopped as whole unit, rather than each individual VM.
Secondly they have blueprints. We can think of a blueprint as a point in time snapshot of any application. Basically, blueprints allow you to save a configuration of an application to your library, which you can then deploy to either another application or another cloud. Think of a blueprint being a base install of your ESXi/vCenter setup – you know before you go mangling inside of it. If your original application ever breaks, or you’d like to explore new features without affecting your current setup you could simply save your application as a blueprint and deploy a new instance of it. One newly released feature is the Ravello Repo, which allows customers to essentially share their blueprints with others, saving a lot of time when it comes to building up test and use cases.
Thirdly is pricing! Honestly I’m not sure what hard costs I’ve incurred as I have gotten 1000 CPU hours/month for free – If you are a vExpert you can too as well as they have just extended this offer to all vExperts – very generous! Not a vExpert, no problem, you can still get a free fully functioning trial here, good for 14 days worth of all you can eat cloud. Although I’ve never seen my pricing I have looked at their pricing calculator – selecting 12 vCPU’s, 20GB of RAM and a TB of storage it comes out to around $1.32/hour – which too me is more than enough resources to get a small lab up and running and is more than affordable for what you get. Plus you don’t deal with Amazon or Google at all – Ravello takes care of all of that.
What Ravello has in store for us on June 26 we don’t know, but I can assure you that it will be a treat to watch. Speaking of watching, if you want to follow along with all the action you can do so by watching the live stream on the Tech Field Day page or on my VFD5 event page where all my content will live.