VMware Invests In Cloud Management Startup That Made Oracle Work With Its Virtualization Software

VMware's recent investment in Blue Medora, a startup that builds features and functionality onto its vRealize cloud management software, shows how the virtualization vendor plans to remain relevant as server virtualization becomes a commodity.

Blue Medora, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., said Monday that VMware contributed an undisclosed amount to its $4.6 million Series A funding round in June.

Nathan Owen, founder and CEO of Blue Medora, told CRN he sees vRealize as the best product on the market for both cloud-based and traditional monitoring and management.

[Related: Nutanix Unveils Own Hypervisor, Aligns With Microsoft For Data Center Battle With VMware]

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"We want to extend vRealize to let it work magic in areas like predictive analytics, capacity planning, and beyond the virtual layer to the application layer," Owen said in an interview.

VMware's vRealize Suite is a bundle of products that includes vCloud Automation Center, which allows automated provisioning of virtual machines and physical servers and comes from VMware's 2012 acquisition of DynamicOps.

Founded in 2007, Blue Medora started out developing systems management technology that it sold to IBM and Oracle for use in their products. About two years ago, the startup extended Oracle's systems management tools to work in VMware environments, which Owen described as a move that put Blue Medora on the enterprise map.

"We engineered our product to allow all the Oracle tools to treat VMware like Oracle's own virtualization platform. This is important for database orchestration, provisioning and monitoring," said Owen.

Although VMware dominates the server virtualization market, its growth is slowing because most enterprises already use its software. Microsoft's Hyper-V offering, which comes bundled with Windows Server, is making inroads as well.

VMware is also facing a challenge from Nutanix, the hyper-converged infrastructure startup that recently rolled out its own KVM-based server hypervisor and management software.

VMware has been building its cloud management arsenal for the past few years to compensate for these market shifts, Jeff Guenthner, director of solutions architecture at CMI, a Mill Valley, Calif.-based VMware partner, told CRN.

"This is going to be VMware’s approach -- it’s the next wave. Hypervisors are commoditized, but management isn’t yet," said Guenthner.

VMware touts vRealize Suite's ability to let customers manage workloads running on its own vCloud Air public cloud, as well as other service providers' clouds, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Owen said Blue Medora intends to take this a step further, bringing vRealize to Rackspace and IBM SoftLayer's public clouds.

Blue Medora currently has 48 employees, and Owen said the startup has been attracting talent from larger companies as of late. Chris Noordyke, vice president of worldwide sales, came over in June from Tegile Systems, where he was senior director of North American channels.

Owen has deep experience in enterprise systems management. He worked at IBM on its Tivoli Business Development team, where he helped managed that vendor's relationships with SAP and Oracle. He was also a senior sales executive at OctetString, a virtualization startup that Oracle acquired in 2005.

Blue Medora is named after Lake Medora, a glacial lake in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where "the water is a pristine color blue," a spokesman for the startup told CRN.