Bitnami ponders enterprise sales…sells itself to VMware

Dell has taken control of software packagers Bitnami via its VMware subsidiary, cementing its interest in the Kubernetes market.

The deal comes just six months after VMware – which is 80 per cent owned by Dell – snagged service mesh developer, Heptio, the home of Kubernetes originators Joe Beda and Craig McLuckie.

Bitnami said “Joining forces with VMware means that we will be able to both double-down on the breadth and depth of our current offering and bring Bitnami to even more clouds as well as accelerating our push into the enterprise.”

As might be expected, Bitnami insisted, nothing will change following the deal: “We will continue to develop and maintain our application catalog across all the platforms we support and even expand to additional ones. Additionally, if you are a company using Bitnami in production, a lot of new opportunities just opened up.”

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For VMware’s part, “Bitnami will enable our customers to easily deploy application packages on any cloud— public or hybrid—and in the most optimal format—virtual machine (VM), containers and Kubernetes helm charts. Further, Bitnami will be able to augment our existing efforts to deliver a curated marketplace to VMware customers that offers a rich set of applications and development environments in addition to infrastructure software.”

VMware said it would bring Bitnami’s offering to ISVs, helping them “deliver their validate solution onto multiple clouds” and “Extend our cloud-native apps strategy by adding expertise to package and deliver ISV software for Kubernetes; further helping our customers get the most out of Kubernetes, regardless of where and how they choose to operate it.”

It also said it was committed to maintaining Bitnami’s relationships with major cloud service providers, adding there was an “opportunity for VMware’s existing Managed Service Provider (MSP) and VMware-based Cloud Service Provider (CSP) partners to provide Bitnami’s application content to their end customers.”

In their statement announcing the deal, Bitnami’s founders said the decision had come about as it pondered whether to take more funding to enable it to build an enterprise salesforce. “We both are building products and services to help companies navigate this multi-platform, multi-vendor world with a focus on enterprises. VMware already has more than 500,000 customers globally!”

And while the deal highlights the scramble for Kubernetes, it also illustrates the dilemma facing many startups in the cloud native and Kubernetes space. It’s perfectly possible to grow organically while eschewing the traditional IT vendor’s army of besuited enterprise sales people. But, at some point the biggest enterprises have a tendency to demand traditional enterprise sales and account management. And that costs. A lot.

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