VMware may believe that adding its brand and sales reach to the SpringSource portfolio will drive higher revenue from the Spring Framework and related Spring products. RedMonk's Stephen O'Grady subscribes to this view, using the MySQL acquisition by Sun as a proof point. I disagree, because a framework is different than a database and the other Spring products have nowhere close to the penetration of the Spring Framework, as I discuss below. Additionally, if a customer has been using the Spring Framework for the past five years without a support contract or subscription, why acquire support or a subscription now? The only reason for doing so will be if VMware and SpringSource disadvantage the open source Spring Framework in favor of the enterprise, commercially licensed Spring Enterprise. The community uproar the last time SpringSource tried this approach leads me to believe that VMware and SpringSource won't go down this path again.
VMware bought SpringSource because SpringSource now has a "Build-Run-Manage" story
Yes, but sadly for VMware, no. Trying to build a significant business selling support subscriptions to the large number of Spring Framework users proved to be a tough nut to crack. The key insight for SpringSource was that customers paid for runtimes and integrated administration and management of runtimes, not for frameworks. SpringSource responded by acquiring Covalent and Hyperic in order to deliver two runtimes, SpringSource tc Server and SpringSource dm Server with administration and management capabilities via Hyperic. SpringSource has introduced a "build-run-manage" marketing campaign, which always makes me chuckle as I recall IBM using Build-Run-Manage back in the early 2000s. I understand that SpringSource is attempting to educate the market that it is no longer only a framework provider, and now have not one but two runtimes that customers can purchase.
It's arguable that one or both of these products will become the basis for VMware's beachhead into the middleware market. So what are the prospects for tc Server and dm Server?