Google and VMware

What’s Behind the Collaboration?

Jessica Thornsby

As Google and VMware celebrate their new-found friendship, the community ponders why these two companies have buddied-up.

Following the announcement that VMware and Google will collaborate on a portfolio of solutions aimed at accelerating the adoption of cloud computing in the enterprise, there has been some buzz in the blogosphere as to what exactly Google are getting out of this partnership. According to some, it could be as simple as the fact that VMware just have more experience with the product’s target market.

The author of VMware VI and vSphere SDK, Steve Jin is of this opinion, writing that Google’s motivation for hooking up with VMware, lies in the target market for this range of new cloud-based solutions. The new services are targeting enterprises (if the ‘Google App Engine for Business’ title didn’t give the game away,) an area where Google have limited experience, whereas VMware’s SpringSource division has an established presence in the Enterprise Java market. Stacey Higginbotham also takes this stance on the collaboration, claiming that delivering an enterprise-friendly platform, is Google’s weak spot.

Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond throws Google’s success outside of the enterprise, and their weak presence inside the enterprise, in a stark light, claiming that “while Google is the darling of developers outside the firewall, they still struggle inside the firewall.”

It is true that Google has a shaky stance in the world of enterprise Java, as Savio Rodrigues points out. Applications for its Android platform are written in Java, but do not compile to Java bytecode, flying in the face of Java’s “write once, run anywhere” slogan. With GAE/J, Google are also guilty of picking and choosing which Java EE specifications to support. Meanwhile, SpringSource/VMware’s Spring Framework has “become a de facto standard which competes against the open standards-based Java EE platform.” Could Google be chasing after some benefits-by-association?

But, what is VMware getting out of the partnership? Rob Barry sees this move as the company aligning themselves against Microsoft by getting Spring onto a number of competing products, while Colin Steele suggests that VMware are systematically collecting major cloud players, in order to capitalise on this new market. “Cloud computing is obviously important for VMware’s continued success (or any vendor’s, for that matter),” he says. VMware’s recent partnership with seems to support the argument that VMware have an aggressive cloud computing policy.

Is Google hoping that the VMware association and experience will help bring them in from the cold, and help them get a more secure foothold in the enterprise? And are VMware gearing up to be a major player in the world of cloud computing? One thing is for sure: this isn’t going to be the first collaboration of its kind. Cloud computing is rapidly becoming a scramble for the best strategic position, but whether Google and VMware now have the edge, remains to be seen.

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