This syndicated post originally appeared at Network World Zeus Kerravala.

ZeroStack’s Hybrid Cloud solution lets customers migrate
workloads from ESX to ZeroStack with a single click

Credit: Thinkstock

Earlier this year, I wrote about a startup called ZeroStack that lets customers easily build an OpenStack-based, plug-and-play private cloud. The company offers a turnkey solution that can be used in a private data center or in a colocation facility. ZeroStack customers can use the platform to move away from legacy virtualization platforms to a dynamic, standards-based cloud environment without requiring a bunch of OpenStack engineers.

The world is becoming more dynamic and distributed and evolving to a modern data center that is elastic in nature, which should be the goal of every organization. Anything else can be thought of as moving backwards.

This week, ZeroStack extended its solution to deliver a hybrid cloud that breaks the dependency and lock-in that customers experience with VMware’s ESX virtualization platform. The new solution lets customers migrate workloads from ESX to ZeroStack with a single click.

ZeroStack also announced similar functionality with Amazon Web Services (AWS), making it the only cloud software vendor that has bi-directional application portability across hypervisors and integration with VMware vSphere and AWS.

Many IT leaders I have interviewed certainly want to move to a hybrid cloud, but they are concerned about trading hardware vendor lock-in for cloud infrastructure lock-in. VMware, in particular, presents the ultimate double-edge sword for organizations. Most companies have large investments in VMware products, and they are concerned about becoming even more tied into ESX and related tools to the point where they may never be able to move off the platform.

Automated migration

ZeroStack automates the unpacking of the workload from ESX and then migrates it to its cloud-managed, on-premises hybrid cloud, which is built on KVM-based tools as well as OpenStack APIs. The open standards approach of ZeroStack gives customers a broad ecosystem of other solution providers and tools from which to choose.

The term hybrid cloud is a bit of a misnomer because it indicates that it’s a single-cloud solution. Businesses may start with a single public cloud provider but eventually want the freedom to use multiple clouds that interface with the enterprise private data center and have workload portability between them.

Today, this is difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish because the enterprise hybrid cloud offerings, as well as many of the public cloud services, are designed to easily let customers start using their services but make it very challenging to move off. ZeroStack’s Hybrid Cloud solution now makes that possible.

For a small startup, ZeroStack has been highly innovative with its adoption of a Meraki-like, cloud-management thinking for the data center. In addition to rolling out a highly scalable cloud appliance that lets organizations rapidly deploy a private cloud, the company also released its own “app store” for cloud, partnered with managed service providers to give customers a managed option, and “cloudified” Dell’s and HP’s hyper-converged platforms.

For most organizations, the private versus public cloud decision isn’t a choice; it’s a requirement to use both. The complexity and threat of lock-in have prevented organizations from jumping with both feet into the hybrid cloud pool, but ZeroStack is one of a handful of companies making that decision much easier.

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.
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