What you missed in Cloud: New frontiers for virtualization

Moving vanThe competition over enterprise cloud spending kicked into high gear last week on the virtualization front as VMware revealed a new version of its namesake hypervisor that promises to address some of the biggest pain points in managing off-premise infrastructure. Chief among them is distance.

Moving virtual machines to a remote geographic location involves a variety of factors that can make the operation incredibly complicated, especially if the target facility is run by a third-party provider. One of the new features included in vSphere 6.0 is a long-distance migration option that enables administrators to move an instance over thousands of miles without so much as having to bring it offline for the journey.

Complementing it is a cloning capability designed to shrink the amount of data that has to traverse the network during such a move and thereby reduce the operational burden even further. It removes the need to send duplicate files for the initial setup, cutting bandwidth requirements while accelerating launch times from minutes to seconds. That’s tremendously useful for migration purposes and also doubles as an answer to containerization.

The lightweight application packaging model offers a compelling alternative to VMware’s conventional brand of server virtualization. That threat will require more than just one feature to address, especially as the open-source ecosystem continues to make containers more viable for enterprise workloads. In a rather timely coincidence, CloudHQ Inc. raised $12 million a few days after the release of vSphere 6.0 to that very end.

The startup develops Flocker, an open-source utility that promises to provide the same kind of automated migration available in VMware’s hypervisor for container-based environments. The software is not quite as robust as the new long-distance option, but it does remove much of the hassle involved in sorting out logistical factors such as re-routing traffic after migrating an instance to a different location. The fresh capital is meant to help build out that functionality and drive adoption among developers.

Containers are already soaring in popularity thanks to the flexability that comes with the ability to distribute code in standardized packages, an approach that is highly conducive to the iterative design principles many organizations are adapting to accelerate their release cycles. That phenomenon has become a trend in its own right, complete with venture-backed startups eager to seize the opening.

Hot on the heels of CloudHQ’s announcement, Sauce Labs Inc. secured a $15 million investment from Toba Capital to grow its cloud-based testing service, which promises to help developers scan their applications for issues at the rapid-fire pace needed to keep up with changing user expectations. The funding will also help fuel the startup’s open-source efforts in the mobile universe and brings its total raised to $36 million.

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