CloudShare announces VMs uploading from virtual data centers to its IaaS cloud – UPDATED

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Today CloudShare announces the availability of FastUpload technology as part of their Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing platform.

FastUpload includes the secure channel to upload virtual machines from a VMware infrastructure and the virtual-to-virtual (V2V) conversion process needed to use them to the CloudShare online facility is a method to upload VMware virtual machines on the CloudShare facility reducing the transfer time.
It seems to have much in common with what the VMware vCloud Service Director (codename Project Redwood) is expected to deliver but it’s actually extremely different.

CloudShare claims that FastUpload can convert upload entire VMware data centers in just 15 minutes, the press announcement isn’t clear about this point but it’s quite evident that the indicated time doesn’t include the virtual machines uploading process, which depends on multiple factors.  by using a patent-pending approach to reduce the amount of data to transfer. But it’s way more complicated than that.

To take advantage of the features, customers first have to download a special virtual machine template that CloudShare offers (they have multiple ones for different purposes) and that the user will have run inside a copy of VMware Workstation 7.


At this point the Workstation 7 template can be populated by any application and data the customer want. Everything will be saved in a snapshot. 
When the customer is ready to upload the VM back, the guest OS network settings must be manually reconfigured to work on the to the CloudShare facility after the uploading process.

In the press announcement CloudShare also omitted to clarify the security details of the uploading process, a key aspect raising concerns among customers (even if we are not talking about production VMs).

The announcement also subtly hints at the involvement of CloudShare in VMForce, the Salesforce hosting facility powered by VMware technology that detailed last week.

Update: This post has been updated as requested by CloudShare after could take a deeper look at the FastUpload technology.

Contrary to what we wrote before the update, in no way the FastUpload process seems able to take VMs running on the on-premises virtual data center and seamlessly transfer them into the CloudShare cloud.
Additionally, while the capability to work with just the virtual machine deltas certainly reduces the upload time, there’s no way to be sure that such time is “as little as 15 minutes” as the press announcement seems to imply.

Last but not least, after had the time to explore the security options that FastUpload offers, it’s sad to report that CloudShare only offers FTP uploading for CloudShare Pro customers, while uploads through HTTPS, FTPS or VPN channels are only for CloudShare Enterprise customers.
It is true that CloudShare Pro is currently in beta and it’s free of charge for up to six VMs, but we are still talking about sensitive information that leaves a corporation to be hosted by a trusted provider.

The upload link in hybrid cloud architectures is a critical point from a security standpoint and so, hopefully, CloudShare may want to reconsider its decision once CloudShare Pro will exit the beta phase and will adopt a subscription or pay-per-use pricing model.