Maybe Einstein Was Wrong with E and MC - Apparently SoftIron = VM Squared...

Let’s face it, the scenario facing VMware for resellers and customer alike, post-Broadcom acquisition is common knowledge – the future landscape is not as it was.

On top of that, it has to be reiterated that VMware is now an old technology. I remember using it in its first iteration in the labs, as a means of sticking multiple OSs on one server for testing where performance wasn’t the metric. It was also a very Yorkshire approach, especially as the company donated the software back then (onto the servers that HP had donated and the additional disks that Western Digital had donated – you get the idea). But we’re talking 20 odd years ago – that’s a veritable lifetime in networking and storage.

If we leave it at that, but observe that many existing VMware customers and channel partners are therefore looking for alternative options, then it doth beg the question: what exactly are the realistic alternatives? The key word here is “realistic”; moving everything at enormous expense to a completely new platform – and one that itself might get acquired, absorbed and reinvented (or discontinued) by its new owner – is simply not a realistic proposition for many. Remember the “forklift upgrades” from the dim and distant past… Ah blocking and non-blocking switch architectures – those were (not) the days!

So, how about a cosy and very affordable migration path alternative, where you keep your existing hardware estate, but move to something different managing those VMs? Wishful thinking? Well, maybe it was, but the guys at SoftIron who convinced me over 12 months ago that I could (because I did) build a private cloud in a morning:

– and watch out for an update paper shortly on its HyperCloud platform – appear to have come to the rescue again with a new release: VM Squared. I guess the clue is in the name…

The aim behind VM Squared is to give VMware vSphere users that desired alternative path by following the same mantra as for building private clouds: simple, scalable, affordable – and ongoing. The company even has an Ikea-style self-build guide to the migration process and I don’t think there’s an instruction missing 😊

According to SoftIron CEO Phil Straw (and he’s not clutching at them), analysts (other than myself) have been telling him that approximately one in five enterprise users are looking to move from VMware to an alternative solution. If that doesn’t sound like a big market – only 20%? – to target, let me assure you that 20% of the VMware estate makes the Royal Family’s combined real estate look very, very tiny.  Or even a 1970s Cadillac Castillian Estate Wagon, probably…

Personally, I think that could be a conservative estimate (the VMware users looking to jump ship, not the Cadillac).  Here are some headline features from the SoftIron release:

  • Installs in 30 minutes (or less)
  • Streamlined user interface provides a modern cloud feel. No configuration setting is more than a couple clicks away, and clever automation features greatly reduce daily operational overhead.
  • Remove barriers to scale. VM Squared automates the provisioning and deployment process to enable scale in your solution without a matching scale in management overhead.
  • Simple upgrade path to private cloud. Because VM Squared is built by the same team as SoftIron’ s HyperCloud, it offers a simple, quick upgrade path to a true, fully-featured private cloud.
  • VMware migration tool. VMware may be complex, but upgrading to VM Squared doesn’t have to be. The VM Squared migration tool offers an onramp that migrates your entire VMware vSphere estate quickly and easily.

And a few tech features:

  • Highly available clustering at scale
    • Fully automated setup and node detection
    • Tolerates hardware failures
  • Secure by design for edge deployments
    • Workload firewall included
  • Distributed storage for protection and performance
    • Automatically add disks to scalable storage pools
    • Datastores replicate and protect your data
  • Out of the box multi-tenancy
    • Add new tenants with integrated billing in just a few clicks.

The company also makes the point that it is a) affordable and b) very easy to price up so you know exactly what you are paying from the start. I think that point will resonate with a few million VM and Public Cloud users.

Sounds like we now have another SoftIron claim to prove! It’s another watch this space moment. Meantime, I would suggest that those still in the VMware camp, but looking for a new campsite might wish to take a look at what SoftIron is suggesting.

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