When VMware bought SpringSource they got three things:
- Development Tools
- Java application frameworks (runtime infrastructure for Java based applications)
- Performance and Availability management tools that came as a result of SpringSource buying the assets of Hyperic earlier this year
Now that VMware owns Hyperic, it owns a monitoring solution that focuses upon the availability and resource utilization of servers, both physical and virtual. This puts VMware in the position to compete directly with third party vendors that have had this space largely to themselves, and will force these vendors to focus on new positioning and new differentiation in order to be competitive.
While Hyperic HQ is an open source product, it is able to monitor a wide variety of server software environments in addition to ones that are open source. For an idea of the breadth of the different environments that are monitored by Hyperic, take a look at the table below:
Sun Java System
Microsoft Active Directory
Microsoft .Net Monitoring
Right now the vendors that are focused upon resource monitoring, availability monitoring and capacity management for VMware and other virtualization platforms have more VMware specific features than does Hyperic. This is certain to change very rapidly as the acquisition of the Hyperic code base and development team by VMware will create a focus upon adding VMware specific features as quickly as possible. It is also highly likely that Hyperic and AppSpeed will become integrated with Hyperic taking on the role of collecting infrastructure data from the virtual and physical infrastructure and AppSpeed retaining its focus upon the response time monitoring of web and database oriented applications.
Vendors focused upon resource and availability monitoring of primarily the VMware environment will need to sharpen their product strategies and differentiation. The first obvious step for all of these vendors is to add support for Microsoft Hyper-V and to position themselves as a neutral and trusted third party management solution. The next logical steps will be for these vendors to build more performance (specifically response time monitoring functionality) into their offerings. Market leaders in this space like VizionCore (vFoglight) and Veeam have substantial product differentiation, large installed bases of customers, and loyal channel partners to leverage as they navigate this new landscape. Vendors like Akorri and Virtual Instruments who already focus upon Infrastructure Response time have clear differentiation today and will likely retain and build upon this differentiation. Vendors that focus upon Applications Response Time and Transaction Response Time like Quest (Foglight), Dynatrace, and Optier also have and will retain clearly differentiated offerings. Finally the newest group of vendors in this space, the vendors who measure End User Response Time like Knoa and Aternity have completely complementary offerings and can continue to build upon their differentiation.
For VMware, this acquisition raises two questions. The first involves who at VMware is going to sell these monitoring solutions and to whom they will be sold. VMware’s traditional constituency clearly cares about infrastructure performance, as this constituency owns that problem. However VMware (even with Hyperic) has not yet fielded an infrastructure performance management solution that really measures the response time of the infrastructure to all applications and services that use it. The second challenge is the question of competition vs. cooperation that every platform vendor must deal with. Microsoft does a good job of partnering with any vendor that adds value to its platform. VMware is not known to be a good partner from a sales and marketing perspective to the vendors that add value to its platform. While it is completely understandable that VMware would seek to elevate its value relative to other “commodity” hypervisor vendors, if this comes at the price of support from the ecosystem, then at the end of the day, Microsoft will win again.