Business_news A VMware exec explains how it’s bringing some of its most important startup acquisitions together to help cloud developers take advantage of red-hot open source software Kubernetes (VMW)

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VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger

VMware


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  • VMware has acquired various developer startups like Heptio, Bitnami, and Wavefront in the past three years, as well as fellow Dell subsidiary Pivotal.
  • Now, VMware has brought them together in a new business unit called theModern Applications Platform business Unit.
  • This business unit focuses on targeting developers by building products with Kubernetes, an open source cloud computing project started at Google.
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Over the past three years, VMware has acquired for itself a collection of developer startups, including Heptio, Bitnami, and Wavefront. That portfolio gets even bigger if you include Pivotal, which like VMware was majority-owned by Dell — at least until the two were combined via acquisition last year. 

In January, these companies were combined into a completely new business unit atVMwarecalled theModern Applications Platform business Unit, to target developers and help them run applications on the cloud. 

Since then, MAPBU has been standardizing its technology platform onKubernetes, an open source cloud computing project that started at Google.Heptio, the startup that was cofounded by the creators ofKubernetesand is now part of MAPBU, has played a major role in that switch.

“This is not about buying a product and integrating it over time and selling it hard,” Edward Hieatt, senior vice president of services and support atVMware, told business Insider. “It’s about adding on to the future VMware value proposition and line of business.”

Even amid that switch, last year VMware introduced Tanzu, a line of Kubernetes-based products to help customers with updating their applications for the cloud era. On Tuesday, VMware expanded its bet on multiple clouds as it announced Tanzu support for Amazon Web Services and preview support for Oracle Cloud.

In addition, it’s working with Microsoft to make a preview for Tanzu support available soon, and partnered with the hot startupGitLabto help developers use Kubernetes to release code updates faster and more consistently.

“The technology powered infrastructure plus the know-how of writing software, bringing those together can have profound impacts,” Hieatt said. “That is the consistent dream and vision of all the founders involved. Working backwards from there is how you figure out how to bring things together.”

Business_newsBuilding Tanzu products for VMware

Still, bringing together several startups to build a new product line and deep-dive into Kubernetes took months. The integration process betweenPivotalandVMwaretook a total of six months from when the acquisition closed in December 2019, says Hieatt, who came toVMwarethrough Pivotal.

And this summer, the various teams “really began to come together,” Hieatt says. He says this was the biggest integration project he has been part of, but came with its own struggles as all of the disparate parts of MAPBU tore out their existing technology to replace it with the new standard platform.

“Some of that was logistical hurdles,” Hieatt said. “That was a bit of a pain for employees to go through. Once we went through that, it was a whole lot easier.”

Read more:VMware is putting all its multi-billion dollar acquisitions around red-hot cloud technology Kubernetes under a single leader — and it just launched its first products

Pivotal’s developer cloud products have now evolved to become part of the Tanzu product line, too, including its flagship Pivotal Cloud Foundry development platform. Before the acquisition, Pivotal was a publicly-held company — majority-owned by Dell — that built tools to help build software faster and better, while also providing companies training in the same. Hieatt said that Pivotal’s mission is continuing in its new home at VMware.

“I would say the culture of Pivotal is very much aligning well,” Hieatt said. “This is not about preserving culture. It’s a new company. It’s a new business unit. What we have done is to try to go back to the essence of the culture practices that Pivotal had.”

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