Analysis: Nicira Buy To Bring VMware Closer To OpenStack, Networking Vendors


With the acquisition of virtual networking technology developer Nicira, VMware is moving closer to the rival OpenStack open cloud software community and breaking down the barriers between clouds built on different software platforms.

VMware has never been part of the OpenStack community of vendors offering cloud infrastructure services under an open-source model where users are free to mix and match products to build the cloud stack.

However, with this week's planned purchase of Nicira, the company will likely begin expanding its reach across the entire cloud market via virtual networks.

[Related: VMware Plunks Down $1.2 Billion To Acquire SDN Startup Nicira]

VMware on Monday unveiled plans to acquire Nicira in a $1.2-billion deal that would give it the leading developer of virtual networking technology and a big stake in the software-defined networking and software-defined data center business.

That will give VMware and its technology and channel partners the ability to extend virtual networking across any cloud platform, said Bogomil Balkansky, VMware's senior vice president of cloud infrastructure products.

That includes using Nicira technology to extend VMware's reach into clouds built on the OpenStack open source software platform which currently is the leading alternative to VMware's vSphere platform, Balkansky told CRN.

"After the acquisition closes, we'll start working on roadmaps that look at what technologies on both (the VMware and Nicira) sides we can leverage," he said.

VMware and the OpenStack community have become primary rivals in determining the architecture of cloud computing, and indeed, what the word "open" means when it comes to the cloud.

In VMware parlance, "open" has always meant that third party developers are all welcome to easily integrate into the cloud architecture based on VMware's vSphere virtualization platform for building cloud infrastructures and its vCloud Director platform for shared cloud computing.

"Historically, when it comes to hybrid clouds, we provide customers a choice of which public cloud to use based on VMware technology," Balkansky said. "Also, for us, 'open' is the idea that our stack is open to third parties to plug in virtual services, such as Cisco's Nexus 1000V open virtual distributed switch, or virtualized anti-virus security, intrusion detection, or firewalls."

NEXT: VMware Vs. Open Source Clouds