How to make cloud attractive? Speed up virtual machine migration

Virtual machine migration across cloud environments requires WAN optimization. Cloud providers can help customers move virtual machines with help from Riverbed & Silver Peak.

While many cloud providers and WAN optimization vendors have answered customer demands for optimization of WAN links for cloud service delivery, optimization of virtual machine migration among public, private or multi-cloud environments remains an issue.

Any performance issues can inhibit enterprise cloud adoption, so cloud providers must mitigate them, noted Paula Musich, senior analyst of enterprise networking and security for Current Analysis. A good place to start is with virtual machine migration. Cloud providers must enable virtual machine mobility in order for their customers to move around applications quickly according to their requirements for capacity and for disaster recovery.

Virtual machine migration: An attractive ability for cloud providers

Riverbed and VMware recently announced an ongoing collaboration geared towards WAN optimization and acceleration of virtual machine migration among public, private or hybrid cloud environments.

Moving lots of virtual machines can be quite painful.

Miles Kelly
Senior Director of Product Marketing, Riverbed

VMware vCloud Connector combines technology from the two companies for moving and replicating data across the WAN, while avoiding bandwidth constraints, high latency in the network and packet loss, according to Riverbed.

Pairing WAN optimization with virtual-machine mobility into or between cloud environments can help cloud providers save their customers money, said Miles Kelly, senior director of product marketing for Riverbed. WAN optimization can save time and offer performance gains when moving large virtual machines, while the customer can make use of their existing IT infrastructure.

"We learned from customers that moving lots of virtual machines can be quite painful," he said.

Kelly said that in tests the VMware-Riverbed technology slashed the migration time of a dozen virtual machines from 132 minutes to less than two minutes.

Silver Peak Systems also announced technology for optimizing virtual machine migration. It is adding support for three tunneling protocols required for virtual-machine migration across data centers.

Virtual Acceleration Open Architecture (VXOA) release 5.2 supports additional hypervisors -- VMware vSphere, Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V and KVM, noted Damon Ennis, vice president of product management for Silver Peak.

"Everyone wants to have seamless mobility of virtual machines and applications supported by a data center on the East Coast and backed up on the West Coast across the hypervisor of their choice," Ennis said.  

WAN optimization gives virtual machine migration wings

Data center requirements are evolving, and WAN innovations are the next wave in cloud infrastructure, said Cindy Borovick, program vice president of enterprise and data center networks for IDC.

More on virtual machine migration:

The rules of virtual machine migration

Best practices: Accelerating virtual machine migration

Cloud providers leaning toward KVM hypervisor

IT Tools for virtual machine migration

Cloud providers must develop a coordinated approach for facilitating the distribution of large file sets and a massive number of small file sets in real time when planning implementations across multiple data centers, she said. "That will ensure that the WAN enables businesses to capitalize on the explosion of cloud."

Most customers are implementing a hybrid cloud environment, with some selecting Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for testing and development environments, Riverbed's Kelly said. Cloud providers must highlight flexibility and speed in moving virtual machines in order to compete. "If [cloud providers] can boast that their environment is fast and efficient, and if they can highlight agility within their clouds, they will be more attractive to customers," he said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, News Writer.

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