This GemStone technology is one approach to handling what is widely seen as one of the worst bottlenecks in cloud-computing systems, the relational database.
"Eventually, you will get to the point where you have all these servers hitting the same database, and hitting it very frequently, and synchronizing their [data] states with the database," Johnson said. "This produces pretty poor response times. The GemStone product eliminates a lot of those calls to your database."
"One of the major problems associated with distributed systems ... is data management and caching, capabilities that Gemstone brings to SpringSource," said John Barr, distinguished analyst at IT research firm The 451 Group.
In addition to the GemStone purchase, VMware also seems to be exploring the possibility of using non-SQL, nicknamed NoSQL, databases, to mitigate the database issues in the cloud.
In March, it hired Salvatore Sanfilippo, lead developer of the Redis open-source, in-memory non-relational database.
"We're not trying to get into the database market per se," said CEO Paul Maritz, answering an analyst question about Sanfilippo's hire during VMware's quarterly earnings call in April. "We are trying to be in the business of enabling applications for the cloud, both private and public, and building off of our SpringSource acquisition, we are adding to the repertoire of underlying middleware and technologies that we think will be needed to develop a new generation of applications."
A privately held company based in Beaverton, Oregon, GemStone has about 100 employees. As a business entity it will be folded into SpringSource, though the GemStone nameplate may be retained, Johnson said.
SpringSource has pledged to continue to support GemStone's current customer base, as well as the company's other products, such as its software for running distributed Smalltalk applications, GemStone/S.
(James Niccolai in San Francisco contributed to this report.)