VMware and SpringSource; Getting Warmer

VMware announced the acquisition of SpringSource for a total of around $420 million. SpringSource provides a opensource Java development platform but they also own Hyperic an opensource management platform; a fact that is being virtually ignored by the mainstream media.

While SpringSource’s Java development platform is “interesting”, nobody gets rich selling or supporting a development environment. However, what’s more interesting is SpringSource’s vision of Building, Managing, and Running applications; one of the driving forces behind their purchase of Hyperic.

Take this vision and expand it into VMware. SpringSource will build the applications, vShere will run the applications, and a combination of Hyperic and VMware will manage the applications. Sadly, Hyperic will not solve all of VMware’s management problems, but it’s a move in the right direction.

There are two fundamental risks with this strategy; VMware’s continued reliance on Java (Oracle) for Platform-as-a-Service (PAAS) and VMware’s commitment to opensource. While Java is a wonderful platform, there are questions regarding its future as well as new and more modern platforms that are challenging its dominance.

While VMware claims to maintain a long history of support for opensource, its more of a self-serving position. With this acquisition, VMware has not only acquired a company but a community of users and developers. With a strong opensource challenge from Oracle/SUN, VMware would smart to harness this community asset rather than turn them into a newfound liability.

Aside from the fact that VMware may have overpaid for SprngSource (especially in this economy), SpringSource/VMware makes sense for both companies. VMware is getting a little warmer on their quest to becoming a datacenter powerhouse.

One word of caution: all companies, VMware, Oracle, Sun, Citrix, IBM, BMC, HP, CA, and more are vulnerable until a new paradigm of management is brought forward. Management cannot continue to be an afterthought and a “central brain” is needed to make cloud computing a reality.