Virtualization Technology News and Information
Q&A with HotLink Talking About Amazon, CloudStack and Hybrid Express for VMware vCenter

I can still remember first talking with HotLink when they were in the startup pavilion at VMworld last year.  I knew they were on to something big, something useful, and something people would want to know more about.  And they've come a long way in a relatively short period of time.  And the company just launched its latest product - HotLink Hybrid Express for VMware vCenter.  

The new technology simplifies the management of hybrid clouds through a VMware vCenter plug-in that natively supports Amazon EC2 and CloudStack resources. And according to the company, HotLink Hybrid Express accelerates the process of deploying a combined on and off-premise hybrid infrastructure from weeks to just a few hours, utilizing customers’ existing VMware vCenter management infrastructure. 

To find out more about what HotLink is up to, I had a chance to speak with Jerry McLeod, VP of Marketing at HotLink.

VMblog:  Since launching at VMworld last year, what has HotLink been up to?

Jerry McLeod:  HotLink Corporation is on a mission to transform real-world IT with the 1st ‘true’ heterogeneous data center system management platform for virtual, cloud & physical computing infrastructure. We have seen many advances this past year, but most recent is the announcement of the launch of our latest product, HotLink Hybrid Express for VMware vCenter. The new technology dramatically simplifies the management of hybrid clouds through a VMware vCenter plug-in that natively supports Amazon EC2 and CloudStack resources full function, without other management console prerequisites. The product expands the ecosystem of HotLink’s revolutionary heterogeneous data center system management capabilities to a new audience while providing our current customers more options.

VMblog:  Are any of the new features based on customer requests or are you anticipating customer needs?

McLeod:  We are invested in providing value and anticipating the needs of our customers. One method is through our customer advisory council that provides continuous feedback and helps ascertain customer needs. Customers today are concerned about vendor lock-in. Therefore, they want to diversify their virtual infrastructure (on & off-premise) but management complexity is a big problem. HotLink Hybrid Express and HotLink SuperVISOR for VMware vCenter enables full-function, unified management of all on and off-premise heterogeneous resource ¾ with VMware vCenter as the single point of management for Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, Red Hat KVM, Amazon EC2 and CloudStack.

VMblog:  How long does the product take to deploy?

McLeod:  HotLink Hybrid Express for VMware vCenter breaks installation time barriers by reducing a process that could take days to implement and streamlining it to hours. Once installed, the system requires no additional management console and all functions are consolidated via vCenter. This product effortlessly incorporates into the organizations environment and eliminates the necessity for training or procedural variations.

VMblog:  What does this product mean for current VMware users?

McLeod:  HotLink Hybrid Express is the only solution to natively extend VMware vCenter to public clouds, so existing VMware users can consolidate deployment, administration and management of all on and off-premise resources with a single pane of glass,  VMware vCenter. HotLink’s unique transformation technology abstracts public cloud platforms and workloads so VMware vCenter treats them just like vSphere hosts and VMs, which fully integrates and manages as a unified pool of resources.  Because HotLink natively integrates cloud resources, VMware vCenter compatible orchestration tools, service catalogs and self-service portals work seamlessly.  

VMblog:  What do you guys see as the biggest challenges in mixed cloud and virtual environments?  And how does this product address those challenges?

McLeod:  The largest challenges around mixed cloud and virtual environments are ease of use and compliance to company standards. IT does not have the time or desire to learn how the various hypervisors or public clouds work – nor should they have to – as it should be an easy extension of their current on premise management environment, not a standalone set of servers and workloads managed by yet another management console or set of APIs or commands. The whole concept should be to use the resources seamlessly at will as a huge available on demand pool. Further, IT has designed builds and templates that meet standards and does not want to maintain other builds just because they are on different hypervisors or ‘in the cloud’.  The same builds should be able to easily move to and from private and public resource pools.

Secondly, IT wants all the data center integration they have invested in on the private cloud to be leveraged when they move workloads around either in the private cloud or to the public clouds. They need and require change management tracking, reporting, alarming, and all the other tools they are used to having in order to work to company standards and SLAs. HotLink Hybrid Express was designed to meet and exceed these challenges.

VMblog:  What does the HotLink Hybrid Express for VMware vCenter mean for the cloud community?

McLeod:  With HotLink Hybrid Express, public cloud workloads benefit from the same VMware vCenter techniques as on-premise virtual machines. Users clone, snapshot and migrate cloud instances just as they do today. HotLink’s integrated, bi-directional workload conversion enables seamless migration to and from Amazon EC2 and CloudStack. Additionally, users can deploy cloud instances from existing VMware vCenter templates and readily share templates with team members. With the combination of VMware vCenter and HotLink, VMware users have the familiar deployment and management interface of on-premise, with hybrid cloud flexibility and agility.

VMblog:  What is the ideal environment or use case for HotLink?

McLeod:  There are many use cases for HotLink’s solution. Customers can now choose what type of environment they want to use for the workloads they require. They can move workloads between environments seamlessly and effortlessly. They could, for example, use a public cloud or a pool of hypervisors for test and development and then run the workloads on a different environment for production. This gives them ultimate flexibility to use any resource at their disposal at any time for any purpose.  They can grow and burst into a public cloud easily with complete control, build out the necessary on premise infrastructure to support the growth (via a business case of public cloud usage) and move the workloads back at will as the business requires. Another use case would be disaster recovery. Since a customer can have identical builds in a private and public cloud, they have the flexibility to bring up more resources as needed in the case of any issues at either site.

VMblog:  What else should we know about the product?  

McLeod:  HotLink Hybrid Express for VMware vCenter pricing starts at US$7,500 and is now available. For more information, one can contact  We are excited to be demonstrating the new HotLink Hybrid Express for VMware vCenter in Booth 2422 at VMworld 2012 at Moscone Center, San Francisco from August 26-30, 2012.  Also, the company is conducting a series of webinars on the new technology with registration available at


Thanks again to Jerry McLeod, VP of Marketing at HotLink, for taking time out to speak with VMblog.

Published Thursday, August 16, 2012 7:03 AM by David Marshall
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