Does VMware really want OpenStack to succeed?

I’ve been asking myself the question ever since VMware joined OpenStack, “what’s the play?”  Do they really want OpenStack to succeed.  Isn’t a more capable OpenStack project counter productive to their vCloud philosophy?

According this VMware blog post, VMware is a top 10 contributor to OpenStack Grizzly (Latest stable release).  Martin Casado, who came via Nicira makes the argument that OpenStack is in the best interests of VMware.  The Nicira purchase made sense as VMware’s software defined everything strategy plays nice with the whole SDN movement, and everyone was snapping up any company with SDN marketing strategy.  Oracle even brought Xsigo with the aura of SDN even if they were a converged networking play. But OpenStack benefiting VMware?

Ever since the purchase and VMware joining OpenStack, I’ve been skeptical that their intentions were “pure”.  They seemed like direct competitors from a vCloud/Cloud Foundry vs. OpenStack perspective.  Since joining the project VMware has shed Cloud Foundry by spinning it off. They have become one of the most active contributors to the Grizzly.  As the Casado blog post notes, VMware seems to be throwing seeds all over the Software Defined Data Center space and seeing what grows. If VMWare can convince enterprises to build OpenStack  private Clouds using existing vSphere infrastructures, it’s a win for VMware.  I don’t know if you checked but vSphere is expensive.

It makes sense if VMware can deliver a vCloud level of integration between OpenStack and vSphere and keep their existing customers happy while dipping their toe in the Open Cloud movement.  And if you really think about it OpenStack and vCloud are positioned at two completely different use cases.  So, an argument can be made that VMware is actually going after a market that really never existed for them prior to their involvement in OpenStack.

This has been an interesting few months for Cloud computing.

Published by Keith Townsend

Now I'm @CTOAdvisor

5 thoughts on “Does VMware really want OpenStack to succeed?

  1. Actually, I don’t think they want to cripple OpenStack. I believe they actually don’t care if you use vCloud or OpenStack. They want to continue to sell vSphere and their management software. If you don’t want a all VMware environment go ahead and pick a best of breed approach to your Cloud.

    Makes sense that they play nice with other platforms as the market is big enough for them to continue to expand without owning every part of the data center even if that’s what their overall strategy may look like.

    1. But do they need to be involved in the networking part of OpenStack for that ?

      So maybe they want to be involved in defining the open APIs in OpenStack, networking is the place where all the new developments are. Ballmer ones said something about developers. That is what cloud is about as well. If you have the standard API and you help define it, you can also be one of the first on market to support it.

      1. I agree. I actually believe their ambitions go beyond OpenStack. Being a major force in development of OpenStack networking just helps build their SDN cred. They want to define and own SDN. IMO.

    2. Yes, all networking development happends on OpenStack Quantum right now.

      Even RedHat is planning to support the OpenStack Quantum for their oVirt offering.

      So now the 20 million dollar question: did VMware only buy Nicera so they could be involved in OpenStack networking and not for their SDN solutions/knowledge ?

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