Meet the voices in my head
The virtual computing giant's main persona marches on as always. At this week's VMworld conference, the company introduced a new "cloud-in-a-box" vision. Stacking VMware's virtual machine software together with recently acquired networking assets from Nicira and EMC
That's a direct stab at Amazon.com
And that brings us straight to the second head on VMware's shoulders -- the one that's joining Rackspace's OpenStack platform as a Gold member. That's an elite group of up to 24 entities (currently 12) that helps steer the OpenStack cloud computing project, just below the ultra-exclusive eight-member Platinum cabal at the top. Alongside VMware, microchip guru Intel
So VMware vows to fight OpenStack on the free market, but also wants to join the enemy at a very high level. What's going on here?
No need to argue
I'd be shocked if the OpenStack board rejected Intel or NEC, since there's no obvious conflict of interests there. While VMware's expertise would be a valuable asset to OpenStack, the foundation would be letting a fox into the henhouse. That's no slam-dunk foregone conclusion.
But the cloud-computing industry is not known for its hard-nosed competitive streak. Cloud services are often designed to connect to or interact with alternative or even competing solutions. The management software from one company will most likely be able to manage cloud servers running on a different underlying software platform.
The easier these guys can make it to run competing platforms together, the faster their customers will accept the cloud-computing paradigm. Locking companies into just one cloud architecture may scare some potential clients back to running tried-and-true hardware solutions instead, and never mind this newfangled platform with all this vendor lock-in!
So I think VMware is smart to throw its hat in the OpenStack ring. The more, the merrier. Let's call it co-opetition.
As for the foundation's board accepting or rejecting VMware's privileged member application, the ruling Platinum class includes three Linux software specialists and noted open-source supporter IBM -- in short, exactly the kind of insiders who would welcome another high-quality competitor to the cause.
Wouldn't it be cool if some other industries collaborated rather than suing themselves to pieces? Everybody can win when the market is expanding quickly enough. Who said that multiple personalities had to be a disorder?
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies mentioned. Check out Anders' holdings and bio, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of VMware, Amazon.com, Microsoft, Rackspace Hosting, and Intel, as well as creating a synthetic long position in IBM and a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft. We Fools don't all hold the same opinion, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.