VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger is making good on his promise to further integrate container technology into his company, announcing plans this morning to acquire Bitnami for an undisclosed amount. Bitnami provides application packaging targeted at container and Kubernetes environments.
Shekar Ayyar, executive vice president for strategy and corporate development and general manager of VMware’s Telco NFV Group, explained in a blog post that the deal will accelerate VMware’s multi-cloud and Kubernetes offerings.
“Bitnami’s packaged application catalog enables developers to quickly and easily deploy open and closed source software to the world’s leading cloud providers as well as on their own servers,” Ayyar wrote.
VMware explained that the Bitnami assets will allow its customers to deploy application packages to public or hybrid-cloud environments as a virtual machine (VM), container, or Kubernetes helm chart. It will also bolster VMware’s existing curated application marketplace.
“We’ve been working with Bitnami for a bit, but it became the natural next step that will allow our customers to leverage the VMware platform and the public cloud platform to build these new apps whether they use container technology, traditional VM technology, or are using native cloud aspects of Kubernetes or compute instances to bring their content to life,” explained Milin Desai, general manager for VMware’s Cloud Services Business Unit, in an interview.
Desai said VMware continue to support deals Bitnami already has in place with cloud providers. VMware will also drive Bitnami’s features into its Managed Service Provider (MSP) and VMware-based Cloud Service Provider (CSP) deals.
“Bitnami’s application packaging capabilities will help our customers to simplify the consumption of applications in hybrid cloud environments from on-premises to VMware Cloud on AWS to VMware Cloud Provider Program partner clouds once the deal closes,” Ayyar added.
The purchase price was not revealed, but Bitnami was founded in 2011, and has raised $1.1 million in funding. Desai said that the Bitnami team in full will be folded into his organization.
The deal comes on the heels of VMware closing on its $550 million acquisition of Heptio. That deal bolstered VMware’s Kubernetes cred as Heptio’s two founders – Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie – were both involved at Google on its Compute Engine and the platform that eventually became the Kubernetes project.
VMware earlier this year integrated Heptio’s operations into its Essential PKS platform.
Heptio and Bitnami also have a history together as both worked on the Ksonnet open source tool. Ksonnet was designed to simplify how users configure applications they deploy to Kubernetes clusters. However, following VMware’s acquisition of Heptio it ceased development work on Ksonnet.
VMware also acquired multi-cloud management startup CloudHealth Technologies last August.
Desai said those deals along with the Bitnami acquisition continues those move VMware “up the stack.”
VMware’s Container Position
As noted from Ayyar’s comments, VMware remains committed to the model of running Kubernetes-orchestrated containers on VMs. This also aligns with Gelsinger’s past comments that “all major clouds run their containers in VMs. Simply put, it’s the best way to run containers.”
Gelsinger late last year said that containers were one of three priorities for the company in 2019, alongside its NSX platform and the ubiquitous cloud focus. He added that VMware’s Heptio deal moved the company “to the front of the line in container technology.”
That jump is important for VMware as the company was seen as lagging behind the industry in terms of its focus on containers.
Gregg Moskowitz, managing director and senior research analyst at Cowen & Company, noted in a report last year that “VMware continues to underplay the container movement.” He added that “the good news for VMware is that we think most organizations will initially deploy containers within a vSphere environment. That should enable them to navigate the container threat over the medium term. Nevertheless, there is some long-term risk for vSphere in our view.”