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VMware Makes Waves with Open Source Headway and Acquisition Speculations

VMware's PAAS strategy is expected to consolidate in 2010

Virtualization Magazine on Ulitzer

As a rapidly increasing number of developers are tapping into the cloud and moving away from traditional enterprise offerings, VMware is also taking appropriate steps on the home front with respect to its vCloud platform.

Its cloud initiative has become more developer friendly with the recent release of software development kits (SDKs) for Java and Python intended to promote apps for its cloud interface. The company also announced that open-source client libraries and tools were available for vCloud, including the libcloud Python library and jclouds, a framework supporting Java development across clouds from multiple providers. Other opensource integration tools such as Ant, a Java build tool, and Apache Maven, a software project management tool, have been adapted for use with the vCloud API via the jclouds plugin. These libraries along with the vCloud API are meant to facilitate better interoperability with VM's newly introduced public cloud service and VMware's hosting partners.

VMware is also buying Yahoo's open source e-mail technology unit Zimbra to boost its cloud applications offerings. Moreover VMware's support for Open Virtualization Format which is an open standard for distributing virtualization software means that any cloud provider can adopt vCloud without feeling compelled to buy VMware's virtualization stack. Another major open source move for VMware was the 2009 acquisition of Enterprise Java tools provider SpringSource. With all these maneuvers it's clear the Palo Alto based vendor wants to not only speed up virtualization of cloud offerings for enterprise clients but also more importantly move beyond the realms of virtualization for which it is best known and expand into web based on demand enterprise and web apps market à la Google Apps. It recently introduced a cheaper version of vCloud, called vCloud Express which provides pay-as-you-go public computing resources that competes with Amazon EC2 and Rackspace. VMware partners Cloudera and WebAppVM have announced new solutions for the Express platform developed with the vCloud API and the SDKs further strengthening the vCloud ecosystem. These latest moves would certainly work in the company's favor as it waits for the Distributed Management Task Force to certify it's cloud API as an open standard.

In the meantime VMware reported last week that its U.S. revenues for 2009 grew 5% to $1.04 billion from 2008 and International revenues grew 10 to $985 million from 2008. With all that cash in its kitty, speculation abounds as to what items will fill its 2010 shopping list. Independent technology-industry analyst firm 451 Group predicts many more acquisitions in the software giant's growth chart and has compiled a list of potential takeover targets that would fit nicely in its Private cloud portfolio .

Two of them are Chordiant Software a California based developer of CRM applications and Terracotta, a San Francisco-based company that is SpringSource's chief caching partner. 451 Group cites Applications development as one area that VMware might be looking to update. It suggests that Ruby on Rails -based PaaS companies like Heroku and Engine Yard could end up being one of the wildcard choices. Skyway Software, a Florida developer of an open source, Java-based development environment on the SpringSource platform might pass muster . Then there are GemStone Systems, a Beaverton, Oregon data management software developer, MuleSoft, an open source integration company in San Francisco, and Sopera , another open source software developer and Springsource partner based in Germany.

According to 451 Group analyst Dennis Callaghan , the crown jewel as an open source database addition to positively energize VMware's PAAS would be MySQL. But he admits that it is a long shot as the chances that rival Oracle would ever let that happen are pretty slim. All in all , Plaform as a Service offerings will be 2010's big coup and VMware is expected to not only leverage opensource but also try to buy its way to victory over Microsoft and Red Hat in private cloud market.

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Lavenya Dilip was responsible for Marketing at Green Rack Systems.