The announcements are coming thick and fast for VMware – once pigeonholed as a provider of core infrastructure tools, they’ve rapidly been building a portfolio hat sees them offer tools at all levels of the stack. Let’s recap on the news of late…

SaaS is the future – SlideRocket

When VMware bought email vendor Zimbra from Yahoo 18 months or so ago, the move left people scratching their heads. At that time it seemed a little incongruous that VMware, with its suite of core IT tools, would move into such a high level end application. A few weeks ago hen VMware announced that they were acquiriing SlideRocket, the online presentation company, it seemed a little more of a story. Email and presentations are two important pieces of a business productivity suite – whereas one product on its own just looks strange, a paid of apps starts to look consistent.

PaaS is the future too – CloudFoundry

When VMware announced CloudFoundry, an open source PaaS product, a month or so ago, I was pretty effusive. I’ve seen just how powerful open source solutions can be at he IaaS layer and I as super excited to extend that value up to the PaaS layer.

IaaS is always going to power the future

Don’t forget, VMware is still a powerful player in the IaaS space. The forays into SaaS and PaaS do nothing to change that. In fact having offerings at a higher level in the stack reinforce the value of it’s IaaS products as well – it’s called synergy.

Enterprise is where the value lies – Witness Horizon

Enterprise may not be “sexy”, but it’s where the money is. VMware knows this and is focused on rolling out tools that make commercial sense for enterprise customers. Here’s where Horizon App Manager comes in. Horizon is a service that sits between organization’s existing identity systems and the plethora of SaaS apps available in the market today. VMware knows and understands that enterprise business units are using these apps in a “stealth IT” style. VMware further understands that enterprise is struggling with the issue, on the one hand realizing that the horse has already bolted and tight control is a thing of the past, but also wanting to wrap some robust control around the use of web apps. This is where horizon comes in – in a nice solution Horizon allows enterprises to control, via a dashboard, access to cloud applications by staff. Currently they only support a limited number of apps but clearly this is a broad play that will see more application providers bought into the fold.

Horizon isn’t on its own in the space – there are competing offerings from companies like Okta, OneLogin and many thers. But imagine if you will an enteprrise CTO who has the option of buying an entire stack of product – IaaS building blocks, an open source PaaS, SaaS apps and a dashboard that controls access to all of that, all from one vendor – that’s truly powerful.

What it means

VMware is kind of a sleeper in the cloud space. Despite being an uber powerful provider, they garner significantly less attention than the likes of Amazon, Google or Microsoft. With all of these deals however VMware starts to have a pretty impressive and consistent offering. Whereas Microsoft has an IaaS/PaaS play that feels almost completely separate to their application offerings, VMware has a consistent and expanding story to tell. Where Google struggles to articulate a message that resonates with consumers, SMB and enterprise all at once, VMware can focus entirely on enterprise. Where Amazon can enjoy the fame that being the poster child for the cloud can bring, VMware quietly builds an impressive technical set of offerings. I’m picking some more application acquisitions in the near future and a deep integration between the different levels of the VMware stack. I’m genuinely excited to see what VMware has up its sleeve in the weeks and months ahead…

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • Ben, VMware made it obvious ~ 2 years back when they first bought SpringSource and then Zimbra about their plans to play from IaaS to SaaS. I would say I am not surprised by the recent moves on other layers of the stack. It was just a logical move to beef up all the layers.

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