VMware to Get Java Web Developer SpringSource for $362M

The virtualization king will add the next-generation Java application platform to its cloud infrastructure offerings. VMware CEO Paul Martiz said: "We need to have both the virtualization talent and the application-facing talent inside the company and working very closely together."

VMware will suddenly become a lot more "application aware," according to President and CEO Paul Maritz, when it incorporates Web application developer SpringSource in several weeks.
The world's largest virtualization software provider announced Aug. 10 that it will acquire SpringSource for $362 million in cash and equity plus the assumption of $58 million of unvested stock and options.
The acquisition, which will improve VMware's cloud computing offerings substantially, already has been approved by SpringSource's stockholders and is expected to close in September, VMware said.
SpringSource, based in San Mateo, Calif., provides a popular open-source Java programming model that currently is used in about half of all enterprise Java projects and utilized regularly by about 2 million developers worldwide, VMware said. In a nutshell, the technology simplifies the development of the complex Java network programming language and extends it to a wider range of uses.
Java is used in virtually all of the world's IT systems and in an estimated 95 percent of the world's handheld devices.
The company's Spring Framework provides a lightweight programming platform that makes applications portable across open-source and commercial application systems from IBM, Oracle and others.
"We already work with existing applications, encapsulate them and slide new functionality underneath them," VMware's Maritz said in a conference call to analysts and journalists. "Users of SpringSource now will be able to dial in their SLAs [service-level agreements] and any other policy they want, such as security and others. We can let the crowd take this, and from this they can get a much deeper understanding of the application context."
Maritz said VMware and SpringSource plan to develop integrated PAAS (platform-as-a-service) packages that can be hosted at customer data centers or at cloud service providers.
'At the Intersection of Important Forces'
The combination of SpringSource and VMware places the two companies "right at the intersection of the most important forces in the software market today-virtualization, modern application frameworks and cloud computing," Maritz said.
"We are trying to maintain an open environment where people [Web developers] can plug in at different levels," Maritz said. "But to do this kind of innovation, we believe we need to have both the virtualization talent and the application-facing talent inside the company and working very closely together.
"Otherwise, we're not going to be able to innovate and integrate on the time scale that we need to do."
SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson broke the news to the company development community in his blog earlier on Aug. 10:
"Sleep easy-our commitment to open-source practices, licenses and traditions will remain unchanged. We expect our contributions to open source to increase. Our open-source projects will retain their commitment to enabling user choice. Spring will retain the portability between deployment environments that empowers users," Johnson wrote.
SpringSource software is used in a high number of the Global 2000 corporation systems. It also has a growing service business that delivers support, training and commercial software.
SpringSource has other claims to fame. The company and its community are the key contributors to-and maintainers of-Apache Tomcat, the world's most widely used Java application server. SpringSource says it is responsible for more than 95 percent of the bug fixes over the past two years.
Tomcat is deployed at more than 60 percent of all organizations running Java server applications.
SpringSource also is the lead developer of Groovy (a dynamic programming language) and Grails (a Web application framework). Each has reported about 70,000 downloads per month.
Companies First Connected in 2008
SpringSource first became connected with VMware in December 2008, when the two companies co-announced a strategic partnership aimed at helping enterprises develop and deploy Spring applications to virtualized environments.
The collaboration with VMware includes integration between SpringSource Tool Suite, an Eclipse-powered development environment for building enterprise applications using the Spring Portfolio, and VMware Workstation to enable the dynamic creation of virtual machines on the developer's desktop.
SpringSource on March 17 announced the release of SpringSource Tool Suite 2.0, a "comprehensive environment for building Spring-powered Java applications."
Forrester Research reported in July 2009 that it expects the emerging PAAS market to expand to $15 billion by 2016.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...