HPE offers VMware alternative with enterprise-grade KVM in HPE Private Cloud

“Customers are looking for an alternative to virtualization”

HPE offers VMware alternative with enterprise-grade KVM in HPE Private Cloud

Virtualization plays a big role in hybrid cloud strategies. For years, everyone went for VMware. Both the customers wanted VMware, and the HPEs and Dells of the world went for VMware in their offerings. It was the most attractive option. With Broadcom’s acquisition of VMware, things changed, which is why HPE is adding virtualization as a feature to its private cloud offerings.

70% of enterprise organizations have a hybrid cloud strategy. In many organizations, VMware plays a crucial role. After Broadcom completed its acquisition of VMware, it began making changes at a rapid pace. In doing so, it acted rigorously and antagonised customers and partners. New terms, higher prices, different billing model and less margin for partners. As a result, many customers are looking for an alternative to VMware. Nutanix was very clear on this, it is actively going after VMware customers. VMware customers are also welcome to join Red Hat. HPE would also like a slice of the VMware pie, but is afraid to come forward.

Also read: VMware customers want to migrate away – not all of them can

VMware persists in HPE’s offerings

Looking at the HPE GreenLake Private Cloud offering, HPE has historically built it entirely around VMware vSphere. However, the relationship between HPE and Broadcom has cooled considerably. First their partnership was terminated by Broadcom, the company was going to serve all customers by itself. However, Broadcom backtracked on that months later. Now, parties like HPE and Dell are Broadcom partners again, but it is clear that Broadcom has damaged the relationships. Although they don’t want to name it at HPE, it is clear that this virtualization alternative stems from Broadcom’s actions. According to HPE, there are a huge number of customers approaching HPE asking for a virtualization alternative. Again, without mentioning VMware by name.

HPE will also continue to partner with VMware to continue serving all existing customers and offering customers a choice. At the same time, HPE will try to offer the most competitive virtualization solution possible, hoping to convince customers to trade in VMware for HPE virtualization.

A full-fledged VMware alternative takes another year

The decision to add virtualization to the HPE Private Cloud was made only six months ago. Around the time, Broadcom terminated the partnership. HPE is using the enterprise open-KVM solution in Ubuntu to offer virtualization within its Private Cloud offering. From the GreenLake portfolio, HPE has integrated a variety of enterprise solutions with the KVM solution. This already allows HPE to deliver an enterprise-ready offering. HPE is mainly focusing on adding tooling around that Ubuntu package, it is not making any changes to that package. So HPE is using the original Ubuntu KVM package and not a fork.


The HPE roadmap shows that there will be a beta after the summer for customers who want to use HPE virtualization. By the end of the year, the feature should be fully available. However, this is still more or less a standard enterprise-ready virtualization solution. We had several conversations with people from HPE at Discover in Las Vegas, revealing that HPE is working hard behind the scenes to build out the virtualization solution. The goal is to have a full-fledged virtualization solution by mid-2025 with sufficient tooling and features that it will be competitive with the most used features within VMware vSphere.

VMware has been offering virtualization for 20 years. HPE has only been working on this virtualization feature for six months, they can’t close the gap that quickly. Next year, HPE hopes to come up with a stronger proposition. Before the VMware acquisition by Broadcom, many customers extended their VMware licenses by 3 to 5 years. Something HPE is very aware of, as they claim to be ready next year. Which will be just in time to give customers a full year to migrate away from VMware.

HPE has an in-house full-stack solution with lifecycle management

With its own virtualization solution within the HPE private cloud stack, HPE will soon have everything in-house. It will still be possible to use VMware through HPE Greenlake for Private Cloud, but it doesn’t have to be. The HPE Runtime Software provides this great flexibility to workloads. Within the same infrastructure, it will be possible to run VMs, containers, and bare metal side by side, as well as VMs on HPE virtualization and VMs on vSphere. According to HPE, everything is enterprise-grade and ready, and you will soon be able to create and manage entire clusters with just two clicks. This makes HPE the first vendor to have such a complete stack in-house. Updating firmware and patching software packages is also automated by HPE, with versions that are certain to work well together. With this, HPE offers full lifecycle management.

HPE GreenLake is fully API-driven, which enables HPE to integrate these different solutions and automate the processes around it. One of the logical next steps is a migration path from VMware vSphere to HPE virtualization. We understand that HPE has not yet developed this, but it won’t be a real challenge because they have the technology in-house.

With Zerto, it is already possible to migrate VMs between different hypervisors. It’s just a matter of integrating that technology into a migration service that can be easily invoked via HPE GreenLake. Something that is clearly on the roadmap for next year, though. You will probably soon be able to migrate your VMs from vSphere to HPE virtualization in 2 or 3 clicks.

Advantages HPE virtualization technology

HPE has chosen to use its best-in-class solutions as its foundation. It uses the HPE Alletra MP storage platform as the foundation under the virtualization layer. This is a software defined enterprise storage solution with very good performance. Virtually all of HPE’s storage solutions are more or less merged into HPE Alletra MP. It simply offers the most flexibility and performance.

HPE emphasizes that this makes its offering very attractive for customers. Customers can deploy different technology stacks within the Private Cloud. Therefore, partnerships with VMware by Broadcom, Nutanix, Microsoft Azure, Red Hat, Suse, Google Cloud, and AWS remain in place. Customers have many choices and can also easily migrate VMs from the private cloud to the hyperscalers.

Why does HPE offer virtualization now?

A question that may arise in the market is why HPE offers virtualization now and not sooner? Virtualization has been around for 20 years. Why is HPE coming up with an alternative now? On the one hand, it is because of the actions of Broadcom. HPE was more or less thanked for its partnership but then welcomed back but with lower margins. In addition, Broadcom shook up all licensing and pricing, making it considerably more expensive for customers. Those customers want an alternative. HPE confirms this, but Red Hat and Nutanix are a lot more vocal about it. The relationship that many customers and partners had with VMware has disappeared. Broadcom is now at the helm, and that is simply a less pleasant partner to work with, although HPE will never admit that.

HPE needs to support many existing VMware customers and maintain a good relationship with Broadcom. However, its own platform will become the preferred solution. HPE is now taking the first steps with its own virtualization platform, but next year, during HPE Discover, it should be a full-fledged virtualization platform that can compete with VMware vSphere.