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Zimbra to bolster VMware vCloud efforts, say executives

The VMware acquisition of Zimbra, an email company, is designed to bolster the virtualization provider's cloud computing stack, according to VMware and Zimbra executives. But observers are confused by the purchase.

VMware inc. made its acquisition of Zimbra Inc. official Tuesday, pitching the acquisition as a way to build out its cloud computing stack.

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"The VMware platform now integrates virtualization, middleware and applications—and enables the decoupling of applications from traditional concepts of linear scaling," Jim Morrisroe, Zimbra's vice president of sales said in blog post explaining the deal. "Private and/or public cloud computing networks can work together and applications can be deployed and managed seamlessly across those clouds."

On his own blog, VMware CTO Steve Herrod said the addition of Zimbra and SpringSource will help VMware simplify IT for customers and fill in more of its vCloud services offerings.

  I am totally puzzled.
A VMware partner,

Word of the proposed buyout leaked last week. At that time, many IT pros were in disbelief—believing that VMware was foolhardy for building up its stack to go after such formidable competitors as Microsoft and Google on many fronts rather than concentrating on its core strengths.

One VMware partner remains incredulous.

In his view, the only way the combination makes is if VMware uses Zimbra's talents to launch "a sort of all-you-need virtualized environment for small businesses."

"I am totally puzzled unless they're trying to do some type of VMware pre-bundled offerings. … if you want to have a small- biz offering of VMware, you might collect together some of the best of what's out there and combine it so a small biz could launch a VMware server that can run maybe four VMs [virtual machines]; one might be Zimbra for communications … another might be running some sort of accounting system."

VMware needs help penetrating small accounts—many of which have not begun to virtualize and, when they do, might be inclined to use Microsoft Hyper-V.

Open source protagonists were quick to call the Zimbra a buyout a win for their side. Both Zimbra and SpringSource build on open source technologies. That puts VMware squarely in the open source camp," said SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin in an email blast to reporters.

Financial terms weren't disclosed, but some reports said VMware paid Yahoo about $100 million for Zimbra. in September 2007, Yahoo bought Zimbra –and its open source-based email and collaboration software -- for $350 million.

Barb Darrow is the Senior News Director for Write to her at

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