Can you buy cool? Besuited VMware gives it a go, confirms intent to acquire SaltStack

VMware Saltstack acquisition

Virtualisation specialist VMware has just revealed plans to buy infrastructure automation software provider SaltStack, which is mostly known for its security-focused infrastructure management project Salt Open that also comes in a supported Enterprise flavour.

The news hits just weeks after business application provider Progress announced its own intent to buy SaltStack competitor Chef. Other challengers include Puppet, Red Hat’s Ansible, and CFEngine.

Details about the deal haven’t been disclosed yet, but SaltStack said it views the buy as a chance “to have access to the platform and resources” of a much bigger entity, namely VMware. SaltStack co-founder Marc Chenn said in a blog post that customers can expect “the full continuation of services”. 

Alex Wang, VMware’s vice president of corporate investment, tried to underline the statement by saying, “SaltStack has built a phenomenal open source community, which we will continue to grow and foster consistent with our open source strategy”. However, VMware is likely to integrate SaltStack into its own cloud portfolio which may mean that current Enterprise users will have to prepare for some changes in the not-too-distant future.  

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According to Wang, speed is “the new currency for digital transformation” which sort of explains the company’s interest in SaltStack’s full-stack automation.  VMware’s senior veep and GM for Cloud Management Ajay Singh went into more detail, claiming that once the purchase is finalised, “SaltStack will help us to complete our automation story, enabling us to extend our automation capabilities beyond infrastructure to the entire application stack.” 

“This will include the software and packages inside virtual machines and containers. These software configuration management capabilities will help us address the full spectrum of customers’ automation needs and further strengthen customers’ ability to automate the deployment and configuration of infrastructure platforms both on-premises and in the cloud with VMware vRealize Automation. Additionally, SaltStack offers robust configuration compliance and vulnerability management capabilities, which will enable VMware vRealize to help customers address their SecOps practices, after close.”

This doesn’t necessarily mean VMware users will be tied to SaltStack, though Wang says the company believes “many customers will want something simple and integrated”. 

In recent years, VMware has been busy getting everything in place to help shift its customer base into the cloud without handing them over to the competition, as the acquisitions of Kubernetes experts Heptio in 2018, Bitnami in 2019, and the re-assimilation of cloud platform provider Pivotal in December 2019 demonstrate.

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