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Oracle has announced the acquisition of SaaS provider Ravello Systems, which will be joining Oracle as part of Oracle Public Cloud. Ravello originates from the team that created the KVM hypervisor, and focuses on making it easy to move VMware-virtualized data centers to public clouds and vice versa. Israel-based Ravello has about 70 employees and has so far raised $54m in funding since the beta launch of its product in 2013. Oracle has not disclosed any financial details, but press commentators put its price tag at between $400m and $500m.

The acquisition makes it easier to move VMs to the cloud

This is a good move for Oracle in that it will help its customers migrate workloads between on and off-premise infrastructures without rewrites because its nested HVX hypervisor technology abstracts virtualized applications from the underlying virtualization technology used in these infrastructures. In particular, it makes it easy for VMware technology users to move to the Oracle cloud. In addition, Oracle will use Ravello technology to make it easier to create infrastructure-agnostic application blueprints.

Ovum also sees the acquisition as part of Oracle's response to containers. On the one hand, the company acquired StackEngine in January for those who want to use containers. On the other, the Ravello acquisition enables the company to cater to those who want to stick to VMs but yearn for the same portability that containers enjoy. It reflects what Ovum highlights in a forthcoming report on containers, namely that containers will get virtualization vendors to raise their game. It would also be good for Oracle to piggyback on Ravello’s ability to move workloads to many cloud environments (Ravello Systems had partnerships with Amazon Web Services and Google), not just its own.

Instead, we expect Oracle to continue to minimize the nested hypervisor performance hit. Ravello focuses on dev/test use cases, because this is a significant chunk of the virtualization market, and provides the path of least resistance to enterprise customers. However, it does claim to have production customers running on the system. Another reason for the focus on dev/test use cases relates to the performance overhead associated with its nested HVX hypervisor technology, although the company asserts that the performance situation for HVX in general is not materially different from traditional virtualization technology. It is right to point out that the performance penalty depends on the nature of the workload being virtualized and can be mitigated through scheduling and other optimization techniques. Oracle is likely to further develop these optimization techniques.


Further reading

“Oracle is joining the Docker fray with its acquisition of StackEngine”, IT0022-000594 (January 2016)

Cloud Strategy Snapshot: Oracle, TE0005-000763 (December 2015)

Oracle’s Public Cloud Portfolio Expansion: Nearly Complete, IT0022-000505 (September 2015)

Oracle's Cloud Transformation: Ongoing, Successful, Challenging, IT0022-000470 (September 2015)

On the Radar: AppZero, IT017-004129 (May 2013)

On the Radar: CliQr Technologies, IT017-004115 (April 2013)

On the Radar: Ravello Systems, IT017-004109 (March 2013)

“Barbarian at the gate: Verizon's disruptive CloudSwitch buy”, TE0005-000603 (August 2011)


Laurent Lachal, Senior Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions

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