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Nimboxx acquires Virtual Bridges VERDE to build SDDC

Hyperconverged infrastructure vendor Nimboxx will use VERDE from Virtual Bridges to compete with Nutanix, SimpliVity and VMware in the software-defined data center market. But will the Linux-based offering take hold in a predominantly Windows world?

Hyperconvergence startup Nimboxx acquired all the staff and assets related to the VERDE product line from Virtual Bridges.

Virtual Bridges still exists and remains focused on its BridgePoint cloud orchestration platform, but it is no longer squarely in the desktop virtualization arena.

This isn’t the blockbuster kind of deal that will take over Twitter and the rest of the interwebs, but it is interesting to anyone following the desktop virtualization and hyperconverged, software-defined data center (SDDC) market.

What is VERDE?

VERDE is desktop virtualization product line that is built on the KVM hypervisor. Built from the ground up, it has a number of advanced features like clustering, storage optimization, branch office support and even a client hypervisor on its list of features. Still, it never caught on for reasons regarding perception and technology.

For many years, VERDE was seen as somehow bonded to an IBM offering, and many people thought it was part of IBM. This is due to the fact that the first Virtual Bridges management team used its IBM pedigree to craft a series of partnerships. That led to most of the announcements from Virtual Bridges having something to do with IBM, a company that you either love or hate.

Virtual Bridges had a changing of the guard a few years ago, and one of their first acts was to cut ties with IBM.

On the technical side, VERDE had an uphill climb simply because everywhere you looked you found technology that was not the norm. The hypervisor is KVM, so the backend is all Linux. The supported protocols are NX, VNC or the open source version of SPICE, though you could also use RDP. Even if everything works perfectly, convincing a company that’s already doing something around desktop virtualization to switch protocols and replace a well-known Windows backend with Linux was, is, and will remain a hard sell, despite it being a good technology.

Nevertheless, Virtual Bridges did manage to grow the VERDE customer base to around 200 customers. Enter Nimboxx.

Nimboxx is stiff competition

Nimboxx came out of stealth mode last June with a hyperconverged platform based on KVM.  Unlike many of the other hyperconvergence products, Nimboxx was built from the ground up so it isn’t dependent on VMware.

Not only does Nimboxx compete against Nutanix and SimpliVity, but also VMware itself, at both the converged infrastructure point -- VSAN and EVO:RAIL -- and at the hypervisor. That’s some serious competition.

Nimboxx's goal is to enable an SDDC-in-a-box, and the company found that the technology behind VERDE was something it could build into its offering that enabled a turnkey VDI environment. VERDE’s more advanced features, like the storage optimizer, multi-tenancy and role-based access could also be put to use in other areas of the broader SDDC vision.

Nimboxx is really a software company that also happens to sell you the container for that software. When you buy Nimboxx hardware, you’re really buying the platform, MeshOS. MeshOS is what you interact with, and it pulls all the strings on the backend to make everything come together. The plan is to build VERDE into MeshOS in the future, but Nimboxx will continue selling and supporting VERDE as a standalone product.

Is this combination of technologies appealing to everyone? Probably not. Nimboxx will still have a huge fight on its hands when trying to convince existing Citrix and VMware shops to move to its platform. Even if Nimboxx sells a company on the hyperconvergence part, a client still has to deal with changing desktop virtualization platforms, protocols, clients, WAN optimization and so on.

Nimboxx seems keenly aware of this, so perhaps it’ll come up with a solution to the problem. In the meantime, there are plenty of green field opportunities and companies actively looking to make a switch where Nimboxx could find some success.

Next Steps

How hyperconverged infrastructure helps with storage strain

Guide to hyperconverged infrastructure

Is software-defined storage different than hyperconverged architecture?

This was last published in February 2015

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What do you think Nimboxx's VERDE acquisition means for the SDDC market?
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Since VERDE is to be introduced as a competition against Nutani, SimpliVity and VMware, it will advance the technological expectations in Private cloud offers. VERDE comes with storage optimization, office support, client hypervisor, and clustering features. This makes the product a desktop virtualization platform that we can operate from the KVM hypervisor. The downside of the software is, it has been back end with Linux, which makes it difficult to operate as an open source.
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This is great news!!! The market does exist for Linux-based SDDC and desktop virtualization. Developers will adapt it, and where developers lead organizations and users follow.
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