Enterprises can see cost and efficiency benefits when they migrate workloads into the cloud, but such moves also come with their share of challenges in complexity and management.
This is particularly true as organizations embrace a compute environment that includes multiple clouds – both public and private – as well as one or more on-premises datacenters. True, the cloud enables businesses to easily scale up or down depending on the workloads they’re running, to pay for only the infrastructure they’re using rather than having to invest upfront in hardware, to put the onus of integration on the cloud providers, and to access a growing array of services from those providers.
But there are always financial costs and other challenges associated with moving data and applications back and forth between on-premises environments and the cloud, including migrating the workloads and managing them as they move from one place to another, and ensuring the performance and security of those workloads while they’re in the cloud. At The Next Platform, we have written about a broad array of vendors looking to make it easier for enterprises to move applications and data into the cloud, to monitor, manage and secure them once they’re there, and to more easily move those workloads between hybrid clouds or between the cloud and private datacenters.
Enter JetStream Software, a startup coming out of stealth mode this week with a software platform aimed at making it easier for cloud service providers (CSPs) and large enterprises with their own clouds to migrate workloads, extend resources between clouds and datacenters and protect their businesses through data replication and cloud-based disaster recovery. To start, the company is unveiling two foundational components of its Cross-Cloud Platform. JetStream Migrate is a data replication offering for cloud migration that runs as an IO filter in VMware’s vSphere, enabling easier live workload migration to the cloud and workload management. The second is JetStream Accelerate, for optimizing performance and efficiency in the cloud.
“It’s really a platform that’s focused on the challenges of data management across cloud environments, with multiple datacenters, dynamically changing workloads, workload migration and so forth,” Rich Petersen, co-founder and president of JetStream, tells The Next Platform, adding that the goal is to “integrate operations across multiple datacenters and cloud services, and to replicate data efficiently and consistently across a cloud and a multicloud environment. The applications in that capability extend into resource elasticity to the cloud, cloud optimization, cloud-based disaster recovery as a service, and disaster recovery for the cloud service provider. The platform is designed for the realities of the cloud rather than being based on the assumption of a single on-premises which everything stays pretty much where you put it. And the challenge for cloud service providers since they use a legacy technology is that as enterprises migrate to the cloud, it meant they could use legacy enterprise toolsets – for things like storage management and disaster recovery – but they have to use them more or less under the same assumptions of a single entity that is managed like a single entity, not as an entire cloud service being managed under an integrated manner.”
The challenge comes when organizations apply solutions designed for on-premises datacenters to the cloud, Petersen says. “You don’t get the full efficiencies that you could be utilizing with the cloud. For cloud operators like Amazon or Google or Microsoft, I’ve got the resources to develop my own storage management and disaster recovery solutions, etc., for my own purposes. If you’re looking at the thousands of managed service providers that have built their instances on a foundation like VMware, they don’t have those development resources and they don’t have a great off-the-shelf solution that was designed from the ground up for their specific needs, so they aren’t using their resources efficiently.”
The JetStream Cross-Cloud Platform is being designed as a complement to cloud infrastructures based on VMware technologies that are offering via VMware partners or on the VMware Cloud on Amazon Web Services. The JetStream founders began working on the technology that would become the company’s platform in 2010 when they launched a company called FlashSoft, which focused on storage IO optimization software. In 2012, the company was bought by SanDisk, and soon after vendors like Dell and EMC began to OEM the FlashSoft technology. While at SanDisk, the FlashSoft developers began working closely with VMware to develop an API framework for VMware for IO filtering. The IO filter API was aimed at enabling third-party storage technologies to integrate with and deliver services for VMware environments, integrating vSphere through the API.
In 2016, Western Digital bought SanDisk, and after the acquisition, “we sat down with the executives at Western Digital and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to take this technology to the cloud. We have a vision for what we can do with it. We would like to spin out and have your support and create a cloud-based solution specifically for data management and to be integrated with a virtualized platform like VMware,’” Petersen says.
That background means that JetStream is coming out of stealth with a healthy lineup of partners along with VMware, including AWS, Microsoft, Red Hat, Dell EMC, Cisco and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and customers that include communications company BT (formerly known as British Telecom).
Key to the Cross-Cloud Platform is the cross-cloud data pipe, an architecture that connects the on-premises and cloud hosts and ensures storage and data consistency and coherence even when the data lives in multiple datacenters and locations, creating a disaster recover-as-a-service scenario. The data replication capabilities mean that organizations can get to the data quickly even if its not immediately at their fingertips, while data tiering optimizes performance and efficiency of storage resources by ensuring the data is located where it should be. The multi-tenant storage interfaces that sit atop a consolidated storage infrastructure enables CSPs to “use these tools while still presenting customers with storage resources on a discreet separated interface,” Petersen says.
“Migration to the cloud is a very painful process when you’re talking about line-of-business process applications that can’t have any downtime,” he says, noting the challenge of replicating data and migrating it to the cloud while the application is still running and trying to use legacy disaster recovery tools that require integration and professional services. “We need the I/O Filter API in this solution as well because we don’t take snapshots. Because we’re not taking snapshots, we’re able to replicate data in a fault-tolerant manner from the datacenter to the cloud while the application is running with minimal interruption to the data.”
Storage abstraction involves thin-provisioned virtual volume (VVOL) containers that leverage an aggregation layer of datastores with identical capabilities, native vSphere datastores and existing underlying storage solutions, including SAN, NFS and Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS).
Along with live migration of applications, JetStream Migrate also supports automated migration and reporting and predictions on that time required to make the migration. It’s also tightly optimized for VMware technologies, including vSphere Installation Bundle (VIB) and vCenter, and leverages vSphere-native data encryption and compression and network-bandwidth optimization capabilities. It is in beta testing and will be available in the second quarter through the company’s CSP partners. JetStream Accelerate – which is available now for vSphere, Windows Server and Hyper-V, and Linux and KVM environments – offers policy-based deployment and configuration, health and performance monitoring, support for external shared flash appliances and statistical analysis. It supports cluster features in such products as VMware’s ESXi, Oracle RAC and AppDynamics tools, and can improve application performance by three to five times, double or triple virtual machine density, and deliver 60 percent better storage efficiency, according to JetStream.