VMware Swallows Akimbi

Virtualization management startup will feed VMware's software lifecycle management wares

June 21, 2006

2 Min Read
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EMC's VMware has set its sights on the software lifecycle, and it bought a small startup named Akimbi Systems last week to help things along. (See VMware Acquires Akimbi.)

According to Dan Chu, senior director of developer products at VMware, software lifecycle is an area where VMware is already focused and one that needs a lot of help. It's also an area where IT pros can benefit immediately from virtualization. Many IT shops support their own software development labs to test out applications, so being able to create and manage multiple virtual test platforms streamlines the process.

"Every developer has about six to ten environments to deal with... Developers spend over 50 percent of their budgets on overhead, setting up, provisioning, and tearing down," Chu notes. The goal is to automate and optimize these procedures throughout the testing, qualification, production, and revision of applications.

Enter Akimbi, a San Mateo, Calif., company, founded in 2004 by James Phillips (ex-Actional, Ensim, Intel) and Xun Wilson Huang (ex-Ensim). It specializes in software that manages the virtual machines created by VMware and Microsoft virtualization.

"This is the fabric and processing automation that takes you from stage to stage," says Chu.VMware will use Akimbi's product, named Slingshot, as the basis for a software lifecycle offering set for beta testing in Q3 of this year. What's more, Phillips will take over a new software lifecycle business unit at VMware, and Xun Wilson Huang will become its R&D leader.

Most of Akimbi's 30 employees will move from the startup's San Mateo headquarters to VMware's digs in Palo Alto.

Chu says Akimbi has about 30 customers, all of whom will be supported as the product they originally purchased evolves into a VMware offering. Customers include Intel, Juniper, RSA, Symantec, and Coldwater Creek to name just a few.

VMware isn't talking about how much it spent for Akimbi. It's also not clear how much funding the firm received. Akimbi announced just one round -- $8 million in Series D funding in November 2005 from Mayfield, Hummer Winblad, and Partech.

The acquisition highlights the priority EMC (VMware's parent company) puts on virtualization. It fits right into EMC's stated strategy to move itself aggressively beyond mere storage with a wave of M&A. Only security came ahead of virtualization in the list of sought-after technologies cited earlier this month by CEO Joe Tucci. (See EMC Nets nLayers, Scopes Security.)"These guys [at EMC] have got a vision that's broader than what they currently do," says analyst Steve Berg of Punk Ziegel. It doesn't surprise him to see EMC gobbling small fries to get the job done, and he expects more.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Akimbi Systems

  • Appro International Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hummer Winblad Venture Partners

  • Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)

  • Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR)

  • Mayfield

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • Partech International

  • Punk Ziegel & Co.

  • RSA Security Inc. (Nasdaq: EMC)

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • VMware Inc.

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