SoftIron has launched VM Squared, an alternative to VMware’s vSphere product suite. The company claims that its new solution is simpler to use than VMware. With customers looking for an alternative to VMware post the Broadcom acquisition, SoftIron says this new product is a real alternative.

Phil Straw, CEO at SoftIron (Image Credit: SoftIron)
Phil Straw, CEO at SoftIron

Phil Straw, CEO at SoftIron Analysts tell us one in five enterprises are looking for a real alternative to VMware. VM Squared builds on our leadership in True Private Cloud to provide a modern virtualization platform that installs in less than 30 minutes and offers a pathway towards true private cloud.

Time to modernise virtualisation

One of the challenges for virtualisation is competing with new technologies. Organisations used it to get greater usage out of hardware while keeping applications isolated from each other. That then translated into how they moved to the early cloud environments. For many, it is still how they deploy on the cloud despite the emergence of containers.

With VM Squared, SoftIron sees itself as reimagining that journey to the cloud. It wants to make it easier and simpler to deploy virtual machines, which will appeal to hard-pressed IT operations teams. More importantly, the list of features it is offering will act as a reason for organisations to move away from on-premises solutions.

SoftIron lists the following reasons to adopt VM Squared:

  • Installs in 30 minutes (or less).
  • Streamlined user interface: Configuration has been simplified and new clever automation features greatly reduce daily operational overhead.
  • Remove barriers to scale: Reducing the complexity associated with scaling is essential. It acts as a major barrier to organisations making greater use of virtualisation. Easier to use automation and provisioning does not increase management overhead.
  • Simple upgrade path to private cloud: Customers can deploy on-premises or onto SoftIron’s HyperCloud. As both products are built by the same development team, they are integrated, making upgrading to SoftIron’s fully featured private cloud simple.
  • VMware migration tool: Migration from one vendor to another is rarely a simple process. To capture the VMware market, SoftIron has built its own tools that allow customers to easily migrate their entire VMware vSphere estate.

Cloud where you want it

SoftIron is also using VM Squared as part of its process to move customers to its HyperCloud product. As a private cloud offering, it can be deployed on-premises or into SoftIron’s own data centres. Customers can also build a hybrid deployment between the two, which allows them to scale on-demand as their business grows.

There are a number of HyperCloud features that SoftIron has enabled within VM Squared.

  • Multitenancy
  • Cloud billing
  • Cloud scalability
  • Cloud resiliency
  • Cloud upgrade process
  • Dedicated marketplace
  • Straightforward “cloud” management experience

It is fair to categorise each of these as pain points not just in a virtual machine environment but in any cloud environment, private or public. What customers will be looking at is how SoftIron is planning to address all of these issues. Additionally, if they are addressed in VM Squared, what do they gain by moving to SoftIron HyperCloud?

Some of these features seem more aimed at a service provider than an SME or larger enterprise. It will be interesting to see what level of usage different sizes of customers make of them.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean?

SoftIron is hitting a number of pain points for existing VMware customers. The devastation of the VMware partner network by Broadcom has opened the door for SoftIron to attract many of those partners.

Another pain point is the new licensing and pricing that Broadcom has introduced. For SMEs, it has made VMware unattractive and given them a reason to migrate. The problem, is that historically, migration is a nightmare. SoftIron claims that VM Squared has removed that impediment to migration.

What is interesting here is that SoftIron is also calling out the VMware interface. It has focused resources on making VM Squared a much more modern interface with simplicity at the core.

There is no question that this will all give it traction in the VMware customer space. What is unknown is which market segment they will win the most business from. The SME is the obvious win, along with the former VMware dealer network that used to support it. But is this enough to allow it to break into the enterprise market? That will be the real bonus for SoftIron, and any success there is likely to be partner-led.


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