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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

VMWare: the next big Open Source company?

With the acquisition of Zimbra VMWare has very clearly signaled that it is no longer satisfied to lead the (soon to be commoditized) virtualization infrastructure market, and that it intends to move "up the stack".

Zimbra always seemed like awkward pairing with Yahoo! and I have long wondered who might be a better parent company for them. Sun being the new poster child for Open Source seemed like a potential suitor until they got bought out by Oracle. Red Hat's name is synonymous with Open Source, but their laser-like focus on infrastructure has ruled out many potential acquisitions. VMWare never even crossed my mind, but now that I think about it, this might just be the beginning...

VMWare is clearly interested in making a name for itself outside of virtualization, and what better way to do that than to a acquire a bunch of disruptive, high potential Open Source companies? They already acquired SpringSource (Web/Java application framework/platform) and by extension Hyperic (infrastructure management and monitoring) back in 2009, but compared to those two Zimbra is a much more daring step away from their traditional stomping ground.

So with a new path laid out ahead of them, who else might they acquire? Here are some ideas:

Jive Software - Not strictly an Open Source company but it has strong ties to the community. Jive's main product, Jive SBS is an enterprise collaboration tool used to power internal and external communities (forums, blogs, document sharing, enterprise social networking) for some of the biggest names out there including Nike, Intel and VMWare. Think Sharepoint, but built from the ground up with end-users in mind.

One of Jive's other big products Openfire is an Open Source XMPP based IM/Chat Server that is used by many other products including Zimbra and SBS.

SipXecs - SipX is an Open Source enterprise PBX system that has long lived in the shadow of its (technically inferior, but more feature packed) cousin Asterisk. SipX has come a long way in recent times and its upcoming 4.2 release promises some very interesting features including the ability to use an IMAP server (like say Zimbra) as the primary store for voicemail and specialized integration with Openfire and DimDim. Alas SipX is owned by the not so recently bankrupt Nortel Networks and is future seems uncertain (is Avaya getting them?). It would be great to see them snapped up by a Financially strong, open source friendly company.

DimDim - DimDim's web conferencing software is powered by a number of different Open Source components. While the company seems to periodically (once a year or so) toss code over the wall, I wouldn't go as far as calling them open source (there is no community to speak off). Nevertheless they have developed a very interesting and disruptive piece of software and it would be nice to see additional development resources and a stronger community around the product.

Zimbra, Jive (SBS and Openfire), SipX, and DimDim are all good products on their own, but together they would form a powerful and flexible Unified Communication and Collaboration platform that could rival and even outpace similar offerings from Microsoft and IBM. I have often wondered if any company would have the vision and resources to pull all the pieces together. At one point I hoped it might be Sun or Red Hat; now it is looking more and more like VMWare might be that company.

2 comments:

document storage said...

Jive Connects for Microsoft SharePoint smoothly integrates SharePoint and Jive. It showcases the storage strengths and the intricate processes, workflows, and DMS of SP, and mixed with Jive's core strengths in social networking.

andrew daves said...

In addition to DimDim, you may have a look at webex, gomeetnow, gotomeeting, R-HUB web conferencing servers etc. for all your web conferencing needs.

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