A blog for the enterprise open source community
VMware on open source track to cloudJay Lyman, January 19, 2010 @ 2:01 pm ET
I have to admit, I was somewhat skeptical of VMware’s interest and outlook with regard to open source software when the enterprise vendor acquired SpringSource in August 2009. Basically, I thought VMware was more focused on cloud strategy and SpringSource’s subscription business in application development and deployment than on its open source nature. However, after its second open source acquisition of Zimbra messaging and collaboration from Yahoo! and talking further with VMware, it is clear the company — once widely known as the proprietary virtualization option juxtaposed against Xen open source virtualization — is an open source believer.
Of course, much of this occurs as Linux and open source dive further under the covers, winning placement but not notoriety in a range of consumer and enterprise uses. Nevertheless, VMware makes no secret its belief that open source software represents the fastest way to reach the widest audience, whether it’s developers in the case of SpringSource, or service providers and other cloud computing users with Zimbra. Similar to our findings for a recent report about customer and user views on open source, VMware sees primarily cost and complexity mitigation benefits from open source software. The company also cites open source as the reason Zimbra has managed growth and popularity, even in the face of Microsoft’s popularity via Exchange and SharePoint.
This is not to say VMware will be making only open source acquisitions and deals going forward as it builds its vCloud stack and story. In fact, in this regard, VMware is in a more flexible position than Red Hat, which is practically more obligated to stick to open source targets or acquire with the intent to open, as we’ve seen with some of its acquired Qumranet technology.
VMware calls the Zimbra acquisition its move ‘up the stack,’ and while additional pieces will not necessarily be open source, I expect the same cost, complexity, flexibility, developer, speed, strategic and other factors that drove the SringSource and Zimbra acquisitions will continue VMware’s focus on open source.
Updated 1/20/2010: VMware has already taken further open source steps with this announcement of vCloud SDKs supporting open source languages.
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