VMware Completes The PaaS To vCloud

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James StatenIf you’ve been wondering why an infrastructure leader would acquire a developer framework, the answer is a bit more complex that what shows on the surface and a lot more strategic.

As stated in the press release and in the blogs by VMware CTO Steve Herrod and SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson, the acquisition helps by, “creating a single, integrated, build-run-manage solution for the data center, private clouds, and public clouds.”

For the developer they will be able to use SpringSource tools to fully describe their application as a VMware vApp “a deployment blueprint that describes how the various machine images, middleware, and management components fit together and then we can take that blueprint and ‘make it so’ with a single click,” Johnson added in his blog.

Infrastructure & operations professionals benefit because there will be less mystery to capacity planning, deployment and configuration, performance tuning and SLA creation for these applications, presumably making them easier to manage.

But that’s just the basics of this story. VMware has a bigger agenda SpringSource helps to fulfill making vCloud bigger than simply an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) alternative and keeping Microsoft at bay. Enterprises are already demanding that cloud environments and internal cloud solutions support their hypervisor standard VMware.

So it wasn’t going to be a stretch to get vCloud adopted, assuming it delivered as promised. But the battle isn’t IaaS, it’s becoming the equivalent of the operating system for the next generation data center and you can’t achieve that aim without applications; and you can’t become application-relevant without being relevant to developers. While tools such as vCenter AppSpeed

help to analyze the performance of applications so you could tune the infrastructure below them, merging this tool with SpringSource’s Hyperic gives visibility up into the application itself so performance experts from I&O and development can work together from the same information.

There’s also room for presumption here that VMware will use the knowledge they will gain through this visibility (and the insights from the rest of the portfolio) to make vSphere and vCloud optimized for Java workloads. An integrated build-run-manage-deploy solution for Java sounds an awful lot like a strategy from Paul Maritz’ former company.

Microsoft Windows Azure is clearly the optimized cloud for .Net. Hook this together with Visual Studio, Hyper-V and System Center in the enterprise and you have a similar story. Both company’s offerings are incomplete today but the similarities are now clear.

The real question is who can spread their relevancy beyond their installed bases most effectively and since every enterprise has both, which you should you bet on. VMware clearly has dominant share in virtualized Windows workloads but that will wane over time as Microsoft cranks up its roadmap and marketing machine that story has already played out on VMware’s stock price.

So VMware needs to drive up application stickiness. It’s been successful thus far in staying ahead of Microsoft with its roadmap and through building out its management portfolio. What it needs next is to get the OS out from between itself and the applications. Its first effort at this was its Virtual Appliance play with just enough operating system (JeOS). Step two will be tying SpringSource’s tc Server to vApp so that the OS in between is irrelevant for Java applications. Third is a play SpringSource has been driving for a while making its framework relevant to more than Java developers (or at least keeping Java developers from moving to other languages).

These efforts thus far have included Groovy and Grails (a Ruby on Rails lookalike atop Spring), Spring .Net (for .Net developers) and plays toward ColdFusion,

Adobe Flex and Javascript. Couple this with VMware’s application certification efforts with the majority of commercial applications and you have the beginnings of a very sticky platform.

Is it a platform worth betting on? Tell us your thoughts.

By James Staten

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