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The challenge for VMware ahead

Posted on Tuesday, October 06, 2009 | 1 Comment

What do you think is the challenge ahead for VMware? Microsoft, the continued push of Citrix to maintain it desktop space, commoditisation of the hypervisor, moving from a product based sales organisation to a services one (vCloud)? Whilst all of those may be valid, I think the merge and growth of SpringSource is a major challenge and opportunity for VMware.

SpringSource is something that I think a lot of people in the infrastructure space just don't get, and the VMware user base has typically been from the data center infrastructure crowd. You could see this at VMworld this year. Some of the most exciting demonstrations in the keynotes were those performed by SpringSource, yet the majority of attendees (IMHO) gave it a big yawn. Sure there was bad timing in the first keynote and people were leaving to get to their sessions without being late but if the demo is compelling and interesting it should win out over attending just another session.

I have been musing over this ever since VMworld. In an interview I did with John Troyer I mentioned that I was interested to see how the SpringSource integration panned out (starting at 9:00 minutes in if you want to watch it). It sparked my interest again when I notice that The Hoff finally had the light bulb go on about the disappearance of the OS and mentions SpringSource in his post "Incomplete Thought: Virtual Machines Are the Problem, Not the Solution…". If /Hoff is getting his head around this, then there must be a lot more to it.

I won't go into the whole where does PaaS, the disappearance of the OS and such things play, thats a much longer and considered post. What I am interested in is just what VMware are going to do with SpringSource?

Will it be kept as a separate community? Something for the coders? That is going to have to occur as the coding community is the consumer and mind share that Spring has been able to capture to date and must maintain. Without developers coding to the platform there is not much value in the environment.

However is Spring also going to be integrated into the ever growing VMware family of management products for the data center community. You bet. It can be seen already. You just have to look at the details of CloudFoundary. Developed for Amazon Web Services its not staying there. VMware state

During the coming months, SpringSource will extend Cloud Foundry’s capabilities with enhanced cloud management features and other services. SpringSource will bring Cloud Foundry’s capabilities to Amazon Web Services as well as VMware’s vCloud service provider partners and internal VMware vSphere environments–providing infrastructure choice, deployment flexibility, and enterprise services. [emphasis mine]

Thats right, internal vSphere environments. If you thought Spring was something that may not enter your domain, VMware may have other intentions.

If you think I am getting all weird here. Just ask yourself how well VMware have gone with ThinApp. Do you think that the VMware community gets and understands ThinApp, whats the track record like? The feature rich versions of VMware View come with ThinApp whether you want it or not. Some have felt it has been forced in to increase adoption, after all if its included you might as well use it. Are we going to see Spring and CloudFoundry bundled in the same way, inside vSphere? We don't know yet if that might be a great thing, or a not so great thing, time will tell.

So SpringSource going to be another Thinstall? I don't think so, Spring was a great purchase on so many levels, what will make it sink or swim is what VMware do with it from now on. It's going to be very interesting to watch over the coming year, I know I am going to have my eye on it closely.



  1. I'm not sure inclusion of ThinApp into the View product is "forced" but more of a reaction to Microsoft including App-V as a Software Assurance benefit with VESD. By Microsoft including App-V as a benefit to VESD, that makes ThinApp an enormously difficult sale to companies going down the VDI road. In other words, if VMware cannot sell ThinApp outright, then include it with View so it does not get abandoned.


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