Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) company Scale Computing partnered with Google on its new hybrid cloud platform, which allows companies to move workloads between their on-premises data center and Google Cloud Platform.

Scale’s new product, called Cloud Unity, integrates Scale’s HCI system HC3 with Google Compute Engine’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) platform. This lets customers back up their data center in Google’s public cloud.

“Maybe they would like to replicate their data center, or do DR [disaster recovery] to the cloud,” said Scale’s Co-founder Jason Collier. “That is one of the fundamental pieces we are offering with the Google partnership.”

And, Collier adds, his company didn’t call Google. Google called them.

“They approached us two years ago,” he said. “They’d been following what we’d been doing in the KVM kernel space. One of the components they were working on was a nested virtualization piece.”

Nested Virtualization

KVM is the Linux hypervisor that Scale’s HCI system uses. Google’s nested virtualization feature allows companies to run on more virtual machines (VMs) inside a Google Compute Engine Linux virtual machine.

“VMs inside of VMs,” Scott Van Woudenberg, product manager at Google Compute Engine explained in a blog post. “Nested virtualization makes it easier for enterprise users to move their on-premises, virtualized workloads to the cloud without having to import and convert VM images.”

Scale is one of the partners that participated in Google’s nested virtualization alpha. AppOrbit is another.

Scale spent two years working with Google to create the technology for Cloud Unity, Collier said.

“One of the most exciting things and one of the hardest pieces of DR has always been the networking,” he said. “What we wanted to do is eliminate the complexity of the networking from a DR perspective, and offer a full-on hybrid-cloud. Your applications can reside on-premises, or in the cloud, and the reality is your users never know the difference.

Live Migration

In addition to disaster recovery and backup, the platform can do live migration, moving a running VM or application between the data center and the Google Cloud Platform.

“And, by the way, these could be legacy applications,” Collier said. “These don’t have to be written for the cloud.”

He said one customer, a regional bank, was transferring cash from one branch to another using an old IBM Personal System/2 computer. These systems were released in 1987.

“We migrated that application and ran it in Google,” Collier said. “We also joke: I hope the bank running PS/2 is not your bank. But the real business advantage is that we can take any legacy application and now make it part of the cloud. And, more importantly, we can move it back. We can live migrate it in, and we can live migrate it back.”

Scale’s HCI platform launched in 2007 at VMware’s VMworld annual conference. Nutanix’s HCI system launched in 2011 at the same show.

Scale’s new hybrid cloud platform inevitably draws comparisons to Nutanix’s XI public cloud service that allows customers to move on-premise workloads to Google’s public cloudNutanix announced this new product at its .NEXT 2017 conference in June. But it won’t be available until the first quarter of 2018.

A major difference between the two products, Collier said, is that Scale’s is available now. “We’re not making up a product road map. This is going live with customers Oct. 1.”

Scale HCI Customers

Scale has more than 2,600 customers running its HCI systems. While most are mid-sized businesses, with between 250 and 1,000 employees, last quarter the company won four Fortune 500 companies, Collier said.

Some of its other enterprise HCI customers include chocolate company Lindt, Steel Dynamics, Farm Bureau Insurance, Air Liquide, Airbus subsidiary Navblue, and “an extremely, exceptionally large retailer in Europe,” Collier said. “We’re everywhere you didn’t realize.”

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