VMware enters the PaaS market
Very interesting to see Steve Herrod, CTO at VMware put out the announcement and details today of VMware's intention to acquire SpringSource.
You can read the details of SpringSource in the announcement as well as at the SpringSource website. Also some good cloud thinkers like Reuven have shared their thoughts on this acquisition.
Eight months ago I wrote about where VMware was playing in the various stacks of Cloud, Saas, Paas, and IaaS. I wrote how VMware fits into the SaaS through the virtual appliance market place and encouraging ISVs to create their wares as virtual machines for the Enterprise to run internally. The play for IaaS is obvious with what was then call the VDC-OS, now vSphere, being the OS for the Cloud along with vCloud.
PaaS was the interesting one. Here is what I wrote way back then.
The PaaS space is where VMware has the challenge. What VMware want here is everyone to build their systems on open standards. This allows them to be packaged into IaaS workloads that can be run anywhere (internally or externally) without lockin to propriety providers, such as Microsoft Azure. An example here is writing in Ruby and deploying in Ruby On Rails.With the purchase of SpringSource VMware have jumped boots and all into the PaaS space, filling a hole in their amour. They have gone beyond my view of Open Standards and decided that they want to control the market more, drive investment to create competition to what the other PaaS players are providing. I guess you can do that when you have big pockets, forget waiting for the market, make the market.
Why was I so keen on PaaS being Open Source? Its the value of being able to execute a workload where you want it, choice. With SpringSource you can develop software and decide where you want to execute it. Internal or External, thats choice. With the PaaS stack being more open and available, even if it costs some form of licensing fee for a provider to offer the platform, means a breadth of available providers, each adding their own differentation. Compare that to Microsoft Azure, run it in a limited set of cloud locations with a single provider (who may just up and move all of your data). Microsoft have been consistant in their view the Azure is for Microsoft datacenters only (see my thoughts on this from March).
I think this is a really exciting development. Its going to take a lot of time, its not going to save the world. However over the longer term Enterprises do need to look at how they move above the IaaS and below the SaaS (the low hanging fruits) and look at how they build their applications. Yesterday a strong force in that space was Microsoft Visual Studio and Azure. Who knows, tomorrow it may be technologies from SpringSource, through VMware backing, that runs on hundreds of Cloud providers.
Exciting times and it will be great to see and discuss this more with people at VMworld. See you there.