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Breaking Some Windows: VMware Acquires SpringSource

Starting with the vSphere launch earlier this year, VMware has steadily built out its message that virtualization is the new data center operating system. As the leader in virtualizing Windows applications, VMware is arguably the most significant threat to Windows dominance. They've isolated the OS into a virtual container, decoupled it from hardware, network and storage devices, and taken control of managing it (vCenter has become as indispensable a management tool as anything from Microsoft in many data centers) - in many ways VMware has Windows right where it wants it: walled off and compartmentalized.

Starting from this tactical advantage, VMware launched vSphere as a "Cloud OS," claiming it was the first general-purpose computing platform ready-built for mobility. Meanwhile, Microsoft countered by reinforcing its message that virtualization was simply a feature of the operating system (Windows Server 2008 R2, to be precise). For dedicated Windows shops, this message will likely resonate: if your key applications are already in Windows, and you've invested in Windows training and administrative tools, why toss it all to leverage some mobility or to do a little consolidation, especially if virtualization is essentially a freebie?

Now, however, to grab the reins again, VMware makes its largest acquisition to date, of the open-source powerhouse SpringSource. SpringSource isn't about the operating system: it's all about the application: developing, packaging, and deploying applications built for a framework, not for a particular operating system. It's the open source rallying cry - portability! reuse! flexibility! faster cycles! - tied to the "new OS" VMware message, and it's a savvy move. With virtualization moving rapidly out of dev and test labs, into production, and out to the Cloud, data center operators have turned their attention from virtual machine provisioning and lifecycle management to virtualized application performance and management. And, enterprise developers as well as VMware ecosystem vendors are delivering more and more applications as virtual appliances.

With it's AppSpeed product, acquired last year with start-up B-Hive and launched in June of this year, VMware got a first toe-hold in the virtualized application performance management space. With SpringSource, the company makes an even bolder move, acquiring a comprehensive open source application framework, complete with tools to build (Spring, Groovy & Grails), run (Tomcat-based tc Server, dm Java Server), and manage (Hyperic HQ) Java-based applications. VMware has made an investment in open source at least as important as Citrix's XenSource acquisition in 2007, and while Microsoft is still striving to deliver basic virtual server platform features to level the playing field at the virtual server level, VMware's moved on to the application.

With this acquisition, VMware hopes to take advantage of the considerable developer momentum behind the SpringSource open source tools and application framework. The battle for virtual infrastructure dominance is clearly moving up the stack, and VMware understands that in the end, both the utility and pervasiveness of the vSphere platform will depend heavily on the strategic value of the applications that run on it. We believe that with this announcement, VMware has taken another important step toward creating a development and run-time infrastructure that can span enterprise and cloud computing domains, while helping to bring the latter closer to enterprise readiness.

  • Premiered: 08/12/09
  • Author: Taneja Group
Topic(s): SpringSource virtual infrastructures VMWare


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