Over the past few years, cloud service providers at times have had to invent its own tools to provide customers with specific requests asked for as part of its service.

During this time, the market has seen particular growth in companies that provide ways to port applications to the cloud. These include companies that automate virtual machines between the data center and the cloud.

But now the market is entering a second phase as these providers are offering new ways to move apps from the data center to the cloud.

That’s what VMware is providing with VCloud Director and its promise of the hybrid cloud. It’s also the vision shared by CloudSwitch which provides an encrypted bridge to share virtual machines in the data center and the cloud.

But there’s a key difference that tells a story about a shifting market. We see continued signs that the cloud will continue to extend out from the data center across multiple hypervisor environments. A hypervisor runs multiple operating systems to run concurrently on a server.

That’s in contrast to VMware, which is managing customer’s virtual environment from the data center to third party cloud services companies. VCloud Director is the cornerstone of its hybrid cloud strategy:

CloudSwitch is a startup out of Boston, co-founded by John Considine and Ellen Rubin. Considine is co-founder and CTO. Prior to CloudSwitch, he was director of the platform products group at Sun Microsystems. Rubin is former vice president of marketing at Neteza, the data warehouse storage company recently acquired by IBM. The company has $15 million in funding. Its management team includes people from BMC; EMC, Netezza, RSA, the security division of EMC and Sun Microsystems.

The CloudSwitch encrypted bridge is a virtual appliance that allows data centers to extend its security perimeter out to the cloud. This shares similarities to VMware’s core strategy to extend from virtual end to end, connecting virtualized data centers to limitless numbers of virtual machines in the cloud.

CloudSwitch takes an agnostic approach. It works on Amazon Web Services and Terremark. Amazon supports the Xen hypervisor. Terremark works on VMware’s hypervisor environment. The goal for CloudSwitch is to support multiple hypervisors.

Customers install CloudSwitch to move any virtual appliance into the cloud. The software maps resources to the cloud for what the customer wants to see. Instances are created that encrypt the connection from the data center to the cloud. Customers control the digital key in the data center where the software is installed. CloudSwitch encrypts network storage, too.

AWS provides an encryption service for creating a virtual private network. Customers, though, must buuld the bridge themselves. CloudSwitch is in some respects exploiting that lacking capability.

The challenge comes with mapping into a virtual network. The relationship between virtual machines is different. Mac addresses, the storage controller and disc drives all require configurations.

CloudSwitch automates all of that for the customer.

It makes far more sense to use a service that you do not have to build yourself. Services from companies like CloudSwitch will be further in demand as the cloud extends from the data center to the limitless environments of the cloud.

The question becomes what direction the market will take. Will VMware dominate the hybrid cloud environment or will it be more multi-facted with companies like CloudSwitch providing services across multiple hypervisor environments?

alex williams