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VMware pulls physical to virtual conversion tool, adds VM to container conversion tool

Physical to virtual conversion tool will be back once modernised, but this is still quite a moment

The "VM" in VMware stands for virtual machine, but the virtualization giant is presently in the rather odd position of having withdrawn its on-ramp to VMs and then introduced an off-ramp from VMs to containers.

VMware's on-ramp to VMs is the VMware Converter – a tool that automates the process of creating VMware virtual machines from physical machines (P2V). But VMware pulled the utility last week from its downloads pages, citing unspecified security risks.

As stated in VMware's post about the demise of Converter, its last official release came in 2018, support ended in 2019, and the security problems in the product mean it would be irresponsible to make it available for download.

Neglect appears to be the reason for the product's withdrawal, not like the inadvertent inclusion of instabilities that caused Virtzilla to remove vSphere 7 U3 from distribution.

Pulling the Converter is therefore represented as "a precautionary measure to protect our customers from using legacy technology that does not comply with VMware's high standards for security and stability."

The day after removing the Converter from its download pages, VMware introduced a new tool called "Application Transformer for VMware Tanzu" that helps to plan migrations away from VMs to containers.

As explained in a post, Application Transformer analyses legacy apps that run in VMs to figure out the details that must be addressed to migrate them into containers.

The resulting recommendations explain how to migrate VM-dependent apps into Tanzu Kubernetes Grid – the Kubernetes environment that VMware offers for use on-prem or in several clouds, and which includes Kubernetes and a suite of open source tools that ease K8s operation in production.

The withdrawal of the Converter and next-day debut of the Transformer appear co-incidental, rather than a signal that VMware has cooled on the abstraction that gave the company its name.

The Register offers that analysis for two reasons.

One is that VMware persists in asserting that Kubernetes will be at its best when run inside a virtual machine, so the container-management tool can take advantage of VMs' isolation and mature management tooling.

The other is that VMware has revealed that work has commenced on a new version of Converter. The company "cannot commit to any specific timelines for its release" but has promised the revised tool "will meet our high standards for security and stability, providing enhanced functionality and supporting the latest technologies available in vSphere virtual machines."

The lack of a P2V converter probably won't hurt VMware much, as third-party tools can do the job and the company has probably already captured the vast majority of apps suitable for virtualization. But VMware's cloudy rivals continue to offer tools to migrate physical apps into their clouds, as does VMware's best buddy in the cloud: Amazon Web Services. ®

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