Chris Wolf just blogged on the SpringSource acquisition that VMware has announced and related this to VMware’s move up the stack in the market. Chris referenced a blog I posted 18 months ago comparing VMware to Novell. I can only hope that my blog back then was the catalyst for EMC executives to make the changes in VMware management to ensure that history didn’t repeat itself. I ended that blog with:
“VMware has it in its power to not let history repeat itself, but it's a mighty mountain to climb!”
From a competitive perspective in the market, Chris Wolf points out that VMware’s new leadership, now just over a year old, has keen understanding of Microsoft’s strategies and knows its weaknesses. From the looks of it, The Paul Maritz leadership team is executing on a strategy to ensure VMware doesn’t go down a road similar to what Novell’s NetWare went down.
VMware is placing its bets on the Cloud. For those of you who couldn’t attend Burton Group’s Catalyst conference, the Cloud sessions were all recorded. VMware’s Raghu Raghuram wrapped up the first morning session talking about the data center of the future. The gist of the cloud message is that Cloud computing offers real advantages and potential cost savings to IT organizations, but public cloud providers are not yet able to provide enterprise mission critical service. Short story: Public clouds are great for certain workloads, but not all. Private and internal clouds are getting to the point that they can begin to provide that level of service.
The SpringSource acquisition is a great move, but there are challenges still ahead for VMware. With regard to SpringSource, VMware has challenges on two fronts. First is on the business front: VMware partners with infrastructure players. Their employees and positions are all about working with hardware vendors, Guest OS vendors, and selling into a channel of partners that deploy infrastructure. SpringSource is a different animal. At this point, VMware must keep SpringSource’s whole go-to-market team intact. Fortunately, I believe Paul and Todd understand this keenly. The rest of VMware – Listen to your leaders here. Go-to-market for a web application platform is very different than virtualization infrastructure software – don’t mess-up what SpringSource has going.
Second is on the technology front, but is a potential issue that is easily handled: VMware has gotten into hot water in the past with the Open Source community. Keeping SpringSource separated from VMware akin to how EMC has kept VMware at arm’s length would be the best bet.
Back to my Novell days – Every time Novell attempted to acquire and integrate a company that was not in the infrastructure business, it made a whole mess of things. WordPerfect, Btrieve (now Pervasive) and Appware (Serius Development) are a few that come to mind. Note that Novell has successfully integrated SUSE – an infrastructure company – into their mix. The bottom line for VMware: The hypervisor gurus are sure to mess up SpringSource if they are let loose on it.
[Posted by: Richard Jones]