SpringSource’s surround ’em on every cloud strategy

We’re trying to stifle the puns with SpringSource’s announcement that now it’s also become the preferred Java development platform for the Google Apps Engine. Like SpringSource on a roll… OK that’s out of our system.

But coming atop the recent announcements of VMforce, along with key acquisitions of Gemstone, and to a lesser extent, RabbitMQ, we’d have to agree with VMware’s CTO Steve Herrod that VMware’s acquisition of SpringSource has not slowed the company down. Congrats to SpringSource’s Rod Johnson for keeping the momentum going under VMware’s watch, and hats off to VMware for making it all happen.

Short but sweet (we’re behind with report deadlines for our day job), SpringSource’s cloud strategy is to become as ubiquitous as possible. Grab every potential Java PaaS platform in sight, do end-arounds with IBM and Oracle who have barely placed their feet inside the door for Java development platforms as a service. Their move reminds us of Duane Reade, the well-known Manhattan pharmacy chain whose long-time strategy was to saturate every street corner location to crowd out rivals like CVS and Walgreens out of the market; as a desperation maneuver, Walgreen finally bit the bullet and snapped up Duane Reade, but in deference to its New York brand recognition, kept the name.

But given that Google app Engine is not exactly a mainstream enterprise platform (Google still struggles to understand the enterprise), for SpringSource the announcement carries more light than heat. The move nonetheless brings a halo effect to Google’s Apps Engine, which becomes more extensible with the Spring framework and with cool extras like Spring Roo, which eliminates a lot of coding legwork and is a good match for Google’s Web Toolkit, which provides a warmer, fuzzier, but more importantly simpler way to piece together web apps. More importantly, it means you can now write and run something meaningful on Google App Engine without having to rely on Python. It provides clever potential upside for Google’s newly announced Apps Engine for Business.

SpringSource’s strategy is an end-around, not only to IBM and Oracle, but also to VMware itself. The latest announcement vindicates in part VMware’s strategy for SpringSource, which we believe has been about building the de facto standard Java cloud platform. While we give hats off toe VMware for accelerating SpringSource’s expansion of its middleware stack and cloud strategy, VMware has been slower to leverage SpringSource internally, whether it be with:
1. Promotion of vCloud. That’s remains more a future bet for leapfrogging VMware past the increasingly commoditized hypervisor business, leveraging its market-leading virtualization management technologies to establish them as de facto standards for managing virtualization in the cloud.
2. Cross-fertilizing SpringSource’s dependency injection capabilities into virtualization, with the idea of simplifying virtualization in the same way that the original Spring framework simplified Java deployment.