SoftIron turbine

SoftIron this week launched a virtualization platform, dubbed VM Squared, that includes a set of tools for migrating from VMware vSphere.

Based on the same lightweight Turbine hypervisor the company used to develop a turnkey HyperCloud infrastructure platform, this latest offering is a software-only option that can be deployed on either Linux or Windows servers.

SoftIron COO Jason Van der Schyff said that approach makes it possible to leverage the distributed control plane and storage capabilities the company has developed in either an on-premises IT environment or in the cloud using a platform that can be installed in less than 30 minutes.

Like many VMware rivals, SoftIron is looking to exploit concerns IT organizations have expressed about costs in the wake of Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware. Since the $69 billion deal closed, Broadcom has replaced the perpetual license for what is now known as the VMware by Broadcom portfolio of software with a subscription license. That move is part of a larger effort to encourage IT organizations to consume additional software services that the unit of Broadcom plans to roll out in 2024.

It’s not clear whether IT organizations are considering migrating off VMware vSphere, but SoftIron and others are, at the very least, betting that there is an opportunity to supplant VMware as IT teams launch new projects.

When it comes to replacing VMware, IT teams, of course, have multiple options, but there will always be some level of cost incurred. Broadcom is essentially trying to offset the cost of acquiring VMware by increasing profits, but not to a point where those increased costs exceed the cost of migrating off the platform. SoftIron, meanwhile, is looking to reduce those costs via a VM Squared alternative that includes tools to streamline migration from VMware vSphere.

For most vendors, unseating VMware has been challenging over the years. Since its founding in 1998, it has had subsequent acquisitions by EMC in 2004 and Dell in 2016, when it acquired EMC. Dell subsequently spun VMware out as an independent company in 2021. Each time rivals have sought to replace VMware within IT teams, despite all that turmoil, they have remained loyal to a commercial platform. The only major weakness that VMware has shown is that as customers migrated to cloud computing environments, they opted more often for the hypervisors made available by various cloud service providers rather than opting to deploy the VMware hypervisor in the cloud.

VMware, however, is not betting that as organizations start to embrace a more hybrid approach to IT, many more of them will deploy VMware software in the cloud to help streamline the management of multiple platforms. Cloud service providers are countering that effort by making turnkey versions of their platforms in a way that can be deployed in an on-premises IT environment.

Regardless of whichever path IT organizations decide to pursue, the one thing that is certain is more workloads than ever will continue to be deployed across highly distributed computing environments that only seem to become more complex to manage with each passing day.

Image source: Photo by Mert Kahveci on Unsplash

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