VMware: It's not all about us anymore

Acquires Dynamic Ops, embraces heterogeneous Cloud management tools

VMware's recent acquisition of Cloud management company DynamicOps could signal that the virtualization company is truly beginning to embrace non-VMware centered clouds, something analysts say is not only good for customers, but necessary for the company.

VMware has in the past encouraged seamless integrations with partnering companies, but has not broadly acknowledged providers outside of that network. The acquisition of DynamicOps, which offers tools for managing heterogeneous public and private clouds from a single console, is one of VMware's first public moves pivoting from that approach.

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"On the one hand VMware is talking a heterogeneous world [with the DynamicOps acquisition], but that goes against its core commercial thrust which is locking people into its own tools and systems," says Ben Kepes, an industry analyst and blogger at Diversity Ltd. in New Zealand.

VMware embracing heterogeneous cloud management tools is a win for customers, Kepes says. "It validates a concept that sees organizations use different technology solutions according to their particular situation -- anything that makes that prospect a reality has to be positive," says Kepes.

Others see the move as a more natural progression for VMware rather than a sea change. Stuart Miniman, an analyst at the Wikibon project, says VMware has undertaken a transition during the past two years -- one that the company had no choice but to embrace. "They were a hypervisor company, and they make a really good one, but if you talk about the future, VMware knows they need to expand outside that," he says. In the past, VMware has allowed customers of its virtualization technology to work with a network of 100-plus public cloud providers in the vCloud Director program.

In announcing the DynamicOps acquisition though, VMware officials acknowledge they need to broaden that support and allow customers to connect with public cloud vendors outside of the vCloud program. VMware Vice President and General Manager Ramin Sayar wrote in a blog post announcing the deal that with cloud adoption, enterprise IT "now has to be a broker of services and infrastructure capacity sourced either internally or rented from multiple external resources -- vCloud partners as well as other IaaS providers like AWS."

VMware has made other moves to expand customers' ability to integrate outside of just VMware-environments. The company has two open source projects, for example: Cloud Foundry is a platform as a service (PaaS) that leverages multiple development languages and can be used by providers to launch a PaaS offering; and Project Serengeti is an open source project that optimizes big-data analytics tool Hadoop for virtualized environments.

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There are vendors beyond DynamicOps with tools that offer similar cloud management capabilities, with companies like RightScale, enStratus and IBM's CloudPassage being examples. But having the technology baked into VMware offerings is a positive for VMware customers, both Kepes and Miniman agree. If VMware uses the DynamicOps technology to allow integrations with non-VMware cloud providers, it could give customers more options in tailoring cloud environments with various vendors to support their specific needs.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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