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Mapping the Cloud: CloudSwitch Aims to Make Enterprise Migration Easier

August 17, 2011
Cloud IT Pro

Cloud gateway software developer CloudSwitch is helping large enterprises extend their existing, internal data centers and private cloud applications into the public cloud, protecting their investment in legacy applications by not requiring any changes to the way those apps run—and setting the companies up to add even more cloud-based services.

The company’s platform is a downloadable software appliance that bridges the enterprise data center with cloud services, essentially extending enterprise security and control into the cloud. Applications remain integrated with enterprise data center tools and policies and can be moved easily between different cloud environments and back into the data center based on the requirements of the business.

“Our software allows enterprises to have applications running in the cloud without all the risks,” said Ellen Rubin, co-founder and VP of products for CloudSwitch. The company’s view, she said, is that not every application needs to be reinvented in order to be migrated to the cloud.

“There’s stuff you build brand new, there’s stuff you re-architect, and then there’s everything else,” she said. “There are problems across all three categories, but it’s even worse for legacy apps. In many cases it doesn’t make sense to rebuild them, so if you have a high percentage of your portfolio that includes those sorts of things, it’s not a good model.”

That’s where CloudSwitch comes in, she said. The company believes that unless legacy apps can be safely and seamlessly run in any cloud environment with full enterprise control, enterprises will hold off adopting cloud—so its platform is designed to help them make that jump.

“The fundamental value of our product is the idea of not having to change anything,” Rubin said. “Our software migrates applications over into the target cloud and inserts an isolation layer that sits on top of the cloud provider’s hypervisor and below the operating systems of the customer’s virtual machine. That layer is part of our secret sauce.”

That technology, Rubin said, protects the customer’s environment from any differences that may lie underneath. “The application stack can run unmodified, so literally it is exactly the same as what the customer had before,” she said. “Applications look like they are still running in the customer’s data center—they don’t have to change anything.”

CloudSwitch’s platform also encrypts, ensuring that cloud providers never have access to enterprises’ decrypted data, she said. Most of the company’s customers are large, Fortune 1000 companies like pharmaceutical companies, banks, media and manufacturing firms, she said, so security is critical.

“The biggest issue is the question of key management,” Rubin said. “One of the biggest concerns people have today is they don’t want key management exposed to service providers. That’s one of the things our isolation layer lets us do.”

Mapping the Cloud: CloudSwitch Aims to Make Enterprise Migration Easier

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