VMware has all but closed the deal to acquire SpringSource in a $420 million cash and stock transaction. The idea is to offer new solutions that help companies build, run and manage applications within internal and external cloud architectures more efficiently.
SpringSource is a familiar name in open-source communities. The company made quick headway into Global 2000 companies with its open-source enterprise, Web application development, and management platforms. VMware will support the principles that led to the private company's rapid growth over the past five years: Interoperability with middleware software and an open-source model.
"Today's modern computing environments are moving to an application- and data-centric world powered by state-of-the-art virtualized and cloud-computing platforms," said Paul Maritz, president and CEO of VMware. "The combination of SpringSource and VMware capitalizes on this shift and places us right at the intersection of the most important forces in the software market today -- virtualization, modern application frameworks, and cloud computing."
Integrated PaaS Solutions
VMware and SpringSource plan to develop integrated platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solutions that can be hosted at customer data centers or at cloud-service providers. According to Forrester Research, the PaaS market is set to expand to $15 billion by 2016.
VMware said its solutions will allow customers to rapidly build new enterprise and Web applications. They will be able to manage these applications in the same dynamic, scalable and cost-efficient vSphere-based internal or external clouds that can also host their existing applications, providing an evolutionary path to the future.
"VMware has led the modernization of data-center infrastructures through innovative virtualization and cloud architectures, providing customers with cost savings, agility and choice," said Rod Johnson, CEO of SpringSource. "The SpringSource team and community are committed to revolutionizing the way companies build, run and manage applications. By combining forces, I'm confident that we'll be able to deliver a set of truly remarkable solutions that dramatically simplify enterprise IT."
The Value of Virtualization
The cloud is a logical, even inevitable destination for virtualization-focused vendors such as VMware, according to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. In the
short term, he said, VMware gains the technologies, brain trust, and customers of a company many consider the de facto leader in Java application development tools. He added that SpringSource's well-established position as an open-source leader should strengthen VMware's efforts in related areas.
"Over time, the company means for SpringSource to help extend the value proposition of the 'limitless' cloud to encompass Java application development," King said. "Rather than being dependent on or beholding to specific vendors, app servers, or middleware platforms, VMware envisions customers and developers leveraging flexible PaaS-based solutions to flexibly extend enterprise applications across vSphere-enabled internal and external cloud infrastructures."
The question is, will enterprises buy into VMware's vision? King believes the answer is yes. He pointed to the company's enterprise clients who understand the value of virtualization and typically hunt for any edge IT can provide.
Many of those companies are deeply involved in application efforts and should find easing development, deployment and management processes highly attractive, he said. The same goes for developers focused on the enterprise market.
"Of the challenges VMware is likely to face, questions around security and reliability seem the most significant, particularly as regards the company's focus on blending internal and external cloud resources," King said. "Visionary rhetoric is seldom in short supply in the IT industry, but at the end of the day companies simply want IT to do its job with minimal fuss and less risk."
If VMware can address these issues adequately, King said, many virtualization clients will eventually come along for the ride.