VMware's acquisition of Zimbra brings the virtualization specialist a step closer to providing a varied set of IT services for its growing number of customers. But can VMware take on Microsoft?
acquisition of Zimbra brings the virtualization specialist a step closer to
providing a varied set of IT services for its growing number of customers.
With the agreed-upon acquisition of Zimbra from Yahoo, VMware gains a
provider of e-mail and collaboration software provider that boasts a customer
base of "over 55 million mailboxes," said a VMware news release Jan.
12. "As an independent Yahoo product division, Zimbra achieved 2009
mailbox growth of 86 percent overall and 165 percent among small and medium
But what proved to be a not-so-perfect fit for Yahoo may prove to be just
what VMware needs as it moves to provide more and more services based around
its virtualization offerings.
Tod Nielsen, VMware's chief operating officer, told eWEEK Jan. 13 that the
Zimbra addition is just the beginning. "This is a first step of many we
will take on a journey to offer a complete set of business services to our
customers," Nielsen said. "We are moving up the stack."
Although Nielsen would not specifically discuss what service or application
area VMware intends to add next, he acknowledged that "longer-term it's
going to come down to us and Microsoft" among the companies equipped
provide the broad range of services that VMware CEO
Paul Maritz has envisioned the company delivering.
"VMware a couple of years ago was this cute little hypervisor company,
and then Paul Maritz came along and looked at how we can play a pivotal role in
bringing services to customers on the desktop, the server, the data center and
the cloud," Nielsen said.
Maritz was formerly a high-ranking executive at Microsoft, and Nielsen also
was an influential executive at the software giant. "We learned a great
deal from our time at Microsoft," Nielsen said. Asked if VMware was
looking to take on Microsoft directly, Nielsen said: "From my years at
Microsoft, [I know that] if I didn't focus on what they're doing now, we would
get trounced. We're just taking the same kind of thinking that made us
successful [at Microsoft] 10 years ago and applying it here."
Nielsen said he believes VMware can be an "arms provider" for
public cloud providers. For instance, "Amazon is a cloud provider and we'd
love to sell our infrastructure to them," he said. "And if we can
help customers federate with Amazon so much the better."
Zimbra becomes another weapon in VMware's arsenal, as VMware can offer
virtual servers upon which the company can offer e-mail and other services for
its data center customers.
Nielsen said the first step with Zimbra is to make it available to all of
VMware's vCloud partners. He said the company plans to invest in beefing up the
Zimbra solution, including adding additional testing resources and increasing
scale. "And we'll continue to improve synergies between our virtualization
engine and the Zimbra technology."
Moreover, "VMware plans to support existing Zimbra products and open-source
efforts while further optimizing Zimbra products for [VMware's] vSphere-based
cloud infrastructure, alongside Microsoft, IBM
and other messaging and collaboration solutions," the company said in its
Jan. 12 news release.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.