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 surfaceand 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
(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

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
(for .Net developers) and plays toward ColdFusion,
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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