Monday, August 10, 2009

VMware Getting into PaaS with SpringSource Acquisition

Hot on the heals of SpringSource's recent acquisition of Hyperic, VMware today announced their intention to acquire SpringSource. At first glance this move may seem puzzling, why would VMware want to buy an open source enterprise application development platform? Could it be for Hyperic, an open source IT management platform? I doubt it. I'd say it's all about planning for the future, a future where the OS no longer matters, a future where all applications are built, deployed and consumed via the Internet. Yes folks, I'm talking about Platform as a Service.

According to the post by VMware CTO Steve Herrod, he states that since it's founding 11 years ago, VMware has focused on simplifying IT. More to the point saying "VMware has traditionally treated the applications and operating systems running within our virtual machines (VMs) as black boxes with relatively little knowledge about what they were doing."

Moreover I too believe that the operating system seems to get in the way more then it helps. Add in overly complex hyper-visors and you've got several layers too many of abstraction when we all know the real work gets done in the application layer. Everything else just subtracts from the end goal -- Building and deploying scalable applications which at the end of the day is the only reason to have any sort of IT infrastructure anyway.

VMware even has a nice picture to illustrate their the new PaaS initiative:


The announcement goes on to outline "common goals for developers to easily build their applications and move from coding to production execution as seamlessly as possible… regardless of whether they will be deployed to a small internal datacenter for limited use or to a completely external cloud provider for much larger scale audiences (and the hopes of achieving Facebook application stardom!). This end state has a lot in common with what is today referred to as “platform as a service” (abbreviated PaaS).’s and Google’s AppEngine are two of the best known examples of PaaS today."

I believe that this is a very smart move for VMware. I find it even more interesting because both Hyperic and SpringSource are open source plaforms. Does this mean that VMware is about to become an open source company, probably not. My read is #1 Hyperic is about to get shut down. It's an unneeded asset for VMware, and #2, SpringSource becomes a focus point in VMware's cloud strategy, a strategy that sees itself becoming the key point of interchange when deploying to the cloud, be it an infrastructure focused offering or platform offering. VMware wants to be in the middle and now they will be. (Cloud Interoperability is now more important then ever)

A few weeks ago Tom Lounibos, CEO of Soasta summed up the opportunity when asked "What's the future for Cloud "IaaS" vendors?"...he replied..."becoming "PaaS" vendors". So true

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