It’s one thing to design and build software to live in the cloud from scratch. It’s something else to move existing applications over to cloud-computing platforms, which many companies need to do. This often means completely rewriting parts of the code to make it compatible with a particular provider’s infrastructure. CloudSwitch, a startup based in Burlington, MA, has designed software that could make the transition almost as simple as dragging and dropping a file from one folder to another.
CloudSwitch offers software that acts as an intermediary layer between a cloud provider and a company’s applications. The software is installed at the company’s data center, and it handles the tricky task of transferring applications over to the cloud provider’s platform. The only catch is that customers must already use virtualization software–commonly used to make data centers more efficient by simulating multiple “virtual machines.”
Ellen Rubin, founder and vice president of products for CloudSwitch, explains that CloudSwitch’s software grabs information about the virtual machines running an application. It then runs a “cloud-fitting” algorithm that compares how the application works in the data center to how it would fit into the cloud provider’s infrastructure. Finally, CloudSwitch’s software translates commands between the two systems.
CloudSwitch Explorer, released as beta software last week, is a free version of the product. After downloading and installing it in a corporate data center, an administrator can move five Windows or Linux virtual machines into Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, and then manage them as if they were still running locally. The company hopes that giving users a chance to try out the software this way will encourage them to buy the enterprise product, which allows for more users and more virtual machines, and will be available later this year. CloudSwitch also plans to add support for other cloud providers as it goes forward.
When designing an embedded system choosing which tools to use often comes down to building a custom solution or buying off-the-shelf tools.