Ravello unravels mystery of ESXi on AWS, Google

Emulating CPU virtualisation extensions in the cloud for home or training lab fun

Ravello Systems, a purveyor of cloud hypervisors, has created a way to run VMware's ESXi in clouds from Amazon Web Services or Google.

Does that sound nutty given that VMware itself and plenty of other cloud/managed services providers will happily give you a Virtzilla environment? Yes and no. Yes, because it seems like rather a hassle. No because while vCloud Air and VMware cloud partners can do servers-by-the-hour, their target is more profound hybrid cloud rigs.

Ravello's therefore figured out how to nest ESXi inside its own HVX cloud hypervisor, complete with emulation of Intel VT and AMD-V virtualisation extensions, so that ESXi virtual machines can then be run in the AWS or Google cloud.

The company's given this offering the name “Inception”, after the movie which takes place inside dreams that themselves take place within dreams.

The company reckons it can create rigs from a pair of CPUs and 4GB of RAM up to “a 500-node environment with each ESXi node having 4 CPUs, 16GB RAM and multiple VLANs.” The former costs US$0.14 an hour, the latter $530.

Ravello suggests its offering is for demos, training rigs and labs, not production workloads. That's not a bad place to aim Inception: home labs are suggested as an important career-building tool, but the amount of hardware required to build a decent VMware lab is becoming quite intimidating, VMware's free EVALExperience licences notwithstanding. ®

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