The rumors are true with VMware publicly announcing that CloudFoundry will be spun off as a separate organization along with EMC’s Greenplum and VMware’s vFabric. This unit will be headed by Paul Maritz, former CEO of VMware. This leaves VMware to focus on their Software Defined DataCenter initiative which they announced during last VMworld. I think this is a natural move from VMware not just to meet the needs of the modern world but also to have an effective monetization strategy around CloudFoundry. In this post, I will briefly offer my thoughts on why this is a right move.
There are multiple issues at play here:
- VMware’s Software Defined DataCenter: Even though VMware’s Software Defined DataCenter Strategy is theoretically aligned with CloudFoundry based Platform strategy, it will be better for their infrastructure business if they delineate their infrastructure strategy from their platform strategy. In short term, as they battle public cloud providers on one side and open source cloud infrastructure platforms on the other, the software defined datacenter story will resonate better if there is a complete delineation from the higher order services. It will help them push their message effectively than approaching the customers with offerings across many layers of the stack.
- PaaS v2: As I have mentioned in my post advocating a rethink on how we see the evolution of PaaS, it is critical to think about platform services needed (see Intelligent Platforms for more info) for scaling data than the current generation of PaaS focussed on scaling users. As organizations accumulate large amounts of data, the future applications will derive tremendous insights from this data to continuously evolve themselves. This requires a platform that is around the data sources and can scale effectively to meet the needs of modern day apps. With this in mind, it makes complete sense to “package” CloudFoundry with EMC’s properties.
- CloudFoundry Monetization: Even though VMware was expected to monetize CloudFoundry through Cloudfoundry.com and a vCloud optimized CloudFoundry private cloud platform, it makes complete sense to tap into EMC resources for monetization than use VMware’s infrastructure offerings. CloudFoundry can not only benefit from EMC’s powerful sales and marketing teams, the story of application development platform around data is a much interesting story for buyers than when packaged with infrastructure components. It is a much effective monetization strategy than going with VMware core infrastructure components.
I really feel that the developments are interesting and I am not at all worried about the impact it will have on the open source project. It is in the interest of EMC to continue developing and pushing CloudFoundry open source project. If they screw up, fork is always a factor. There is a strong ecosystem around CloudFoundry and there are many viable candidates such as ActiveState, Tier3, AppFog, etc. who can lead the fork. The developer community will always side with a fork lead by startups than EMC. Any concern about the future of CloudFoundry open source project is unwarranted. These are some of the thoughts that came up when I read the VMware announcement today. I am also excited about the fact that Paul Maritz is going to lead the new initiative. What do you think?