VMware To Buy Application Deployment Specialist Bitnami

The startup's technology will help partners and customers deploy popular open source applications across clouds and give a boost to VMware's development of its own cloud marketplace


VMware said Wednesday it reached an agreement to purchase Bitnami, a startup that provides packaged and validated versions of web applications that can quickly be deployed across heterogenous environments.

Bitnami delivers full software stacks for many popular open source solutions like WordPress, Drupal and Magento. Those include the pre-configured applications, installers, databases, web servers, and encryption tools.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

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For mission-critical use cases, applications are also available from Bitnami's Enterprise Catalog that can be provisioned to virtual machines, public cloud instances across major providers, and more recently, in containers and onto Kubernetes clusters.

"Bitnami will enable our customers to easily deploy application packages on any cloud— public or hybrid—and in the most optimal format—virtual machine (VM), containers and Kubernetes helm charts," blogged VMware's Milin Desai, general manager for cloud services; and Paul Fazzone, senior vice president for cloud-native apps.

The startup's technology will also give a boost to VMware's current work in developing a cloud marketplace, they said.

"Bitnami will be able to augment our existing efforts to deliver a curated marketplace to VMware customers that offers a rich set of applications and development environments in addition to infrastructure software," Desai and Fazzone said.

Bitnami is headquartered in San Francisco, but the company's founding traces back to a venture called BitRock launched in Spain in 2003 by Daniel Lopez and Erica Brescia.

"This is fantastic news for our users and partners. We will continue to deliver the Bitnami catalog of apps that you know and love, across all the platforms we currently support, including all the major cloud vendors," Lopez and Brescia said in a blog announcing their acquisition.

"Joining forces with VMware means that we will be able to both double-down on the breadth and depth of our current offering and bring Bitnami to even more clouds as well as accelerating our push into the enterprise," they said.

The two Bitnami founders said negotiations came unexpectedly out of a fundraising round for the previously bootstrapped company.

Several vendors approached about making strategic investments, or even merging the startup into their companies.

"While this was not our original goal, as part of the conversations that we had during this process, we realized that VMware would be the ideal partner for us," Lopez and Brescia said.

Both companies "believe in a Kubernetes and multi-cloud future," they said. "We both share large enterprise customers, including cloud service providers. We both are building products and services to help companies navigate this multi-platform, multi-vendor world with a focus on enterprises."

The integration of Bitnami's technology will yield a VMware product designed to help enterprise IT departments provide customized catalogs adhering to best security practices, with up-to-date content, validated for multi-cloud deployments and supported by features like usage analytics.

The deal will also improve VMware's collaboration with ISVs that want to deliver their validated solutions across clouds, and in different formats and marketplaces, said Desai and Fazzone.

VMware will maintain Bitnami's many partnerships with cloud providers, and work to drive more content to their marketplaces, they said.

The acquisition will help VMware partners, both MSPs and VMware Cloud Service Providers that offer hosted VMware cloud environments, offer Bitnami's application packages to end-customers and "deliver value beyond infrastructure," they said.

"It is vital that we work together with our ISVs, technology partners, channels, and others, to deliver the best customer experience. After close, we will continue to offer Bitnami services to the end user directly and drive further adoption via our partner communities," Desai and Fazzone said.

David Klee, founder and chief architect at Heraflux Technologies, a Lincoln, Nebraska-based VMware partner, said the Bitnami acquisition will benefit partners by essentially forcing them to keep up with changes in the market.

"The VMware partner is going to have to go through a very large learning curve," Klee said.

VMware VARs historically focused on the core platform and supporting technologies: compute, interconnects, storage.

But VMware is shifting focus, as illustrated through the Bitnami deal, to bring partners into the application layer.

Partners will have to staff up with application-specific knowledge, like application servers and SQL servers in containers, to both service their clients with the new features and better compete against other players in the market, he said.

"I see it as forcing the automation and containerization evolution in direction onto the VMware partner," Klee said, adding that's a good thing.

Bitnami will also provide a boost to enterprises adopting DevOps processes and looking for greater cross-cloud interoperability, he said.

"VMware is certainly looking to increase its goals of being a/the central pivot point between on-premises and cloud platforms," Klee told CRN.