March 01, 2010, 7:45 PM — A start-up that moves VMware-based applications to the Amazon cloud and creates a secure tunnel between a customer's data center and the cloud service is launching a public beta trial Monday.
CloudSwitch, recently out of stealth mode, moves existing applications from internal data centers to the cloud without rewriting the app or requiring changes in management tools.
The concept is not a new one. Amazon's Virtual Private Cloud and the vendor CohesiveFT both tackle the goal of bridging the internal data center with public cloud services in a secure manner.
But CloudSwitch is unique in offering a service that takes care of all the networking, isolation, management, security and storage concerns related to moving an existing application to a cloud, says The 451 Group analyst William Fellows. Still, CloudSwitch has yet to demonstrate a real-world example of its technology in action, so there are still questions about the mechanism of deployment and user experience, he says.
"There are still some question marks around the operation of a CloudSwitch environment," Fellows says. "A lot of details are still quite closely held."
That's not unusual for a start-up just out of stealth mode, Fellows notes. But the goal of building hybrid clouds, in which computing resources are managed as one entity yet span internal data centers and public cloud services, is a difficult one to tackle, involving many different concerns such as IP addressing and routing, network latency and bandwidth availability, he says.
"It's not for the technology faint-hearted," Fellows says.
CloudSwitch's software, which installs as a virtual appliance into a VMware environment, turns the process of moving Windows and Linux applications to Amazon's EC2 cloud computing service into a simple drag-and-drop operation, says Ellen Rubin, the company's founder and vice president of products. Applications moved to the cloud "remain tightly integrated with enterprise data center tools and policies, and are managed as if they were running locally," the company says.
Data is encrypted in flight and at rest, and CloudSwitch's migration technology is compatible with pretty much any type of storage and network connection, she says.
"When you drag and drop your application, we're launching an encrypted tunnel between the data center and cloud," Rubin says.
CloudSwitch has raised $15 million in venture funding from Matrix Partners, Atlas Venture and Commonwealth Venture Partners.