Wednesday, January 27, 2010

VMware Acquires Zimbra - Sights Set on Microsoft

VMware and ZimbraEarlier this month VMware set an interesting stage on the virtualization front through its acquisition of Zimbra from Yahoo. For those unfamiliar with Zimbra, Zimbra is a very popular open-source collaboration software for companies of all sizes which provides calendaring, e-mail, and also offers mail services over the web for cloud and hosting providers.

What Does This Mean for VMware and The Cloud?

VMware's recent acquisitions of SpringSource and Zimbra is clear proof that they are aggressively moving up the ladder. Currently VMware, Microsoft, and Google are the three key cloud competitors in the market, but Google does not compete directly with VMware on the virtual plane. This leaves Microsoft as the primary concern for VMware and the acquisition of Zimbra has no doubt created even more friction between the two companies. Now it's no longer just a case of VMware vs. Hyper-V on the virtualization front, but also a case of Zimbra vs. Exchange on the collaborative applications front.

Scott Gode, vice president of Azaleos, a Seattle-based managed services company that specializes in Microsoft products stated that if VMware can make Zimbra part of a unified and seamless cloud platform, then Microsoft might want to sit up and take notice. "This acquisition signals to me for VMware that their gloves are fully off against Microsoft," he said. "All the major cloud players are similar in that they're making moves, from an infrastructure standpoint, so they're set up when the market moves."

Larry Augustin, CEO of SugarCRM, wrote the following in an email to concerning Zimbra and VMware. "VMware is clearly moving aggressively up the stack and is not content to be limited to virtualization or even infrastructure,". "With the Zimbra acquisition, VMWare is squarely positioning itself in the applications and collaboration space." "I would expect them to continue to make acquisitions in open source and at all tiers of the software stack: infrastructure and applications,".

Even VMware seems to have a sense of destiny between themselves, Microsoft, and the cloud. VMware Chief Operating Officer Tod Nielsen simply stated "Its going to come down to us and Microsoft." in an interview with eWEEK.

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