UPDATE - VMware acquired this week enterprise Java application framework specialist SpringSource, suggesting the...
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virtualization provider intends to become more involved in application development.
"What is most interesting is the talk about Java as a cloud or a platform as a service," said Michael Cote, analyst with Red Monk, in an e-mail interview. "[It] could be an interesting offering to see."
Enterprise software written in Java often functions behind a firewall, not on the cloud. "I am not sure if it is always as easy to translate Java applications to running on a cloud as it might be for Web applications," said Cote "It will be interesting to see…what [SpringSource and VMware] could do if they set about making a Java Platform as a Service."
OSGi may play a role in developing Java applications for the cloud. "SpringSource is very involved with OSGi, a way to componentize Java," said Cote. "Since the Spring Framework uses a lot of OSGi nowadays, that would be another way that people would develop applications."
The light-weight Java framework addresses the job of integrating different often-employed APIs and objects in a consistent manner. Programming with Spring is widely seen as less difficult than with full-featured Java EE servers such as WebSphere, WebLogic and JBoss.
The acquisition may also change the way some applications are delivered. Said Cote: "If [VMware] used SpringSource and their own virtualization and cloud assets, they could create a new way and platform for delivering applications."
Analyst Chris Haddad with Burton Group suggests VMware's backing can help further SpringSource's efforts to promote the popular Spring Framework.
"SpringSource has been a credible Java application platform contender to IBM, Oracle, RedHat, and SAP. SpringSource has won developer mindshare due to their innovative programming model and open source lineage," Haddad wrote in an e-mail response to questions.
"While the acquisition will facilitate IT datacenter operation staff acceptance and adoption of SpringSource application servers, sales channel challenges will remain. To be effective, VMware/SpringSource must continue to execute on their product partnership strategy and deliver innovative and reliable infrastructure at a competitive price point," he wrote.
"The VMware acquisition provides 'big company' stability and support to a strong product line. Of course, success is predicated on the VMware management team nurturing rather than stifling SpringSource's culture and operational processes," Haddad wrote in an e-mail response to questions.
Through acquiring SpringSource, VMware would gain the assets from open source systems and network monitoring application software provider Hyperic, which SpringSource acquired in May.
NOTE: An earlier version of this story misidentified Michael Cote.