Yesterday at VMworld conference Tod Nielsen, a VMware executive leading its platform efforts, had announced that VMforce will not be delivered, CloudFoundry technology will not run in the salesforce.com data center and users of CloudFoundry.com will be enabled to access database.com in some unspecified way as a compensating feature. Today Byron Sebastian, salesforce.com platform executive, confirmed it. VMforce is dead.
As a long-standing Gartner maxim goes: “the only real partnerships are acquisitions”. Indeed, salesforce.com followed it to the letter by replacing the partnership with VMware with the acquisition of Heroku (and now Heroku is announced by Marc Benioff to offer Java — completing the swap).
The failure of the VMforce project and the salesforce.com-VMware partnership is a warning message to VMware and other vendors, that a strategy of a cloud enabler can be difficult: the partners that are essential for the success of such policy might decide to be competitors at some point (early or late) in the partnership.
I believe that the leaders in Cloud computing will aim to control the entire stack of technology underlying their services. The providers will trump the enablers.