Making sense of a VMware acquisition of Red Hat

VMware is rumored to be interested in buying Red Hat, but it doesn't make sense.

OStatic raises an interesting question around the swirling rumors of VMware's interest in acquiring Red Hat: would an acquisition make sense?

OStatic's Sam Dean suggests the answer is a qualified yes, but I can't see it. He points to commoditization of virtualization at the hands of the operating system vendors as a key reason VMware would seek safety in Red Hat, but I would think this trend cuts the other way. Red Hat (and Novell) likely see virtualization's commoditization as a reason to push the knife deeper into VMware. Being acquired by an important but commoditized feature of their operating systems doesn't sound appealing to me...

Instead, I'd see more promise in VMware "moving up the stack" in the same way that infrastructure vendors have always done to evade commoditization. It's the strategy that Oracle has been following, along with Red Hat, IBM, and others.

Are there particular applications that lend themselves well to virtualization? If so, that's where I'd be looking for VMware's next acquisition. Or maybe a platform-as-a-service vendor to help create virtualized applications?

Or perhaps a much easier to use/deploy mechanism for applications? ThinApp promises to be such, but my own experience with rolling a VMware appliance is that it's not a particularly easy process.

I'm clearly grasping at straws here, but I don't think VMware needs to buy an operating system. Any thoughts on what VMware should be doing with its still-sizable bank account?

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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