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Gridstore plans KVM and container support in further tilt at VMware

Hyper-converged appliance maker Gridstore gets $19m in funding to drive KVM and container support to provide an alternative to “costly” VMware

Hyper-converged appliance maker Gridstore has gained an additional $19m in funding and plans to use it to help drive the addition of KVM hypervisor support that can provide customers with an alternative to VMware.

Gridstore supplies 2U, four-node hyper-converged appliances that come with the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor in an Ethernet connected unit with between 23TB and 92TB of all-flash storage. It supplies nodes optimised for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and storage-only nodes with cut-down central processing unit (CPU) and memory.

Currently it only supports Hyper-V, but it plans to use the funding for – among other things – the addition of the Linux-based KVM and support for containers such as Docker.

Gridstore chief technology officer Kelly Murphy said: “We want to provide people with a way of moving from VMware. People are tired of paying for what is effectively a proprietary hypervisor. We want to extend our capability to KVM later in 2016.”

“We’re also looking at containers as an alternative to hypervisors,” he added.

Container technologies, such as Docker, have gained appeal because they address some of the shortcomings of hypervisor-based virtualisation.

Containers allow multiple applications to run concurrently on a single copy of an operating system (OS), either deployed directly onto a physical server or as a virtual machine (VM).

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In hypervisor-based virtualisation, each VM has to be provided with dedicated memory and storage resources. By default a container is isolated from its neighbour, making it look to all intents and purposes as if the container owns the whole OS.

Gridstore is potentially able to offer container support because its software runs below the OS. This means an OS could be installed with containers residing on top of that.

Murphy said Gridstore would not try to get into the VMware market. “There are lots of suppliers already in there [with VM-based hyper-converged products]. In Hyper-V there is only us and Nutanix, so it makes sense to stay away from the crowded VMware space.”

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