Virtual Iron Boosted by Intel

Startup gets $8.5 million toward further development of server virtualization software

September 27, 2005

2 Min Read
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Server virtualizaton startup Virtual Iron Software Inc. will use $8.5 million in Series C funding led by Intel Capital to get its multisystem message out to more customers. The funding brings the startup's total to $28.5 million since its founding in March 2003.

Virtual Iron, which claims six unnamed customers, is one of a growing roster of startups laying claim to controlling server resources regardless of the underlying hardware. In Virtual Iron's case, the claim is mainly one of scale: Unlike market leader VMware Inc., whose focus traditionally has been on partitioning individual servers, Virtual Iron's focus is on virtualization across multiple Intel-based servers.

"We do an entire data center," claims Mike Grandinetti, Virtual Iron's chief marketing officer. Of course, he knows his place as a market newbie: "We can compliment VMware, actually."

Not in this world, says at least one analyst. "In some universe, somewhere, it might be theoretically possible that the two could complement each other in some way," says senior analyst Gordon Haff of Illuminata Inc.

Lots of players in the general virtualization space, mostly newcomers like Virtual Iron, take aim at the same problem, but from different angles, Haff states, making a product choice depend largely on the problem being solved. He says SWsoft Inc., for instance, specializes in partitioning a single operating system into individual containers -- a strategy hosting providers find advantageous, because of their interest in maintaining commonality in partitioned systems. VMware and Virtual Iron add overhead, but both can put multiple versions of an operating system into virtual machines.Indeed, Virtual Iron seeks to combine multiple smaller systems into one big symmetric multiprocessor (SMP), Haff notes. "It lets applications that would scale in clustered environments scale without rewriting the code for a cluster," Haff says. "You wouldn't scale all applications that way... The applications must have parallel threads, like Monte Carlo simulations in financial services."

Virtual Iron's VFe product uses InfiniBand as an optional interconnect between virtual systems, something that might be considered a plus or a drawback by prospective buyers. Pricing is about $50,000 for software for several servers.

The Acton, Mass.-based startup, which has about 50 employees, has also signed a collaboration agreement with , the terms of which aren't specified. (See Virtual Iron Raises $8.5M.)

Other investors in Virtual Iron include Goldman Sachs & Co., Highland Capital Partners, and Matrix Partners, which participated in earlier rounds.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch0

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