October 24, 2020


Connecting People

VMware buys SaltStack for security, configuration management

VMware options to get configuration management and safety automation seller SaltStack in a move that boosts its vRealize suite and bolsters open up supply Salt development.

While VMware’s vRealize Automation cloud infrastructure management application presently integrates with infrastructure-as-code tools these types of as Puppet, Pink Hat Ansible and HashiCorp Terraform, corporation officials cited SaltStack’s configuration management abilities as essential motivations for the acquisition, which is expected to close in October for an undisclosed sum.

“SaltStack will help us … to lengthen our automation abilities beyond infrastructure to the total application stack,” wrote Ajay Singh, senior vice president and common manager of VMware’s cloud management business unit, in a corporation blog post. “This will contain the application and packages inside virtual machines and containers.”

SaltStack safety goods will also be built-in into the vRealize suite, Singh wrote. These contain SaltStack Guard, which automates IT safety vulnerability discovery and remediation, and SaltStack Comply, a compliance coverage-as-code tool that competes with Chef InSpec, HashiCorp Sentinel and Pulumi CrossGuard.

While not as commonly used as Ansible and Terraform, SaltStack has drawn notice in the previous calendar year with the launch of SaltStack Guard and a new modular item development course of action meant to capture it up with cloud-indigenous technological know-how traits.

Tom Petrocelli

Even now, VMware could have had few alternatives for an acquisition of this variety. Ansible presently belongs to IBM/Pink Hat, HashiCorp Terraform looks destined for an IPO following a $one hundred seventy five million spherical of funding in April, and Puppet could not be searching for a buyer, claimed Tom Petrocelli, an analyst at Amalgam Insights.

Meanwhile, newer IT automation firms these types of as Pulumi still attraction more to midmarket buyers instead than VMware’s massive enterprise consumer base, in accordance to Petrocelli.

“This is a great way to fill out VMware’s portfolio,” Petrocelli claimed. “They have the platforms [in Tanzu and Cloud Foundation], they have the deployment toolchain [with Pivotal Cloud Foundry and Bitnami] — now they need to develop up infrastructure automation.”

Providers that originally targeted on configuration management have been compelled to realign their firms as Kubernetes usurped significantly of their products’ price about the previous 4 decades. But the broader VMware Tanzu system, particularly, will still have to have SaltStack’s configuration management characteristics for components outside of Kubernetes, Petrocelli claimed.

“You still need a thing that will configure the broader environments that Kubernetes lives in, and issues Kubernetes would not trouble with, like significant concept queues,” he claimed.

There is certainly also price in owning various IT automation tools that operate at different levels of infrastructure designed into a consistent item established these types of as vRealize, Petrocelli included.

“These elaborate toolchains can tumble down if they’re not well coordinated,” he claimed.

Salt consumers seek security with VMware

SaltStack’s safety and configuration management tools are designed on an occasion bus, which responds in close to authentic time to infrastructure and configuration variations, these types of as the existence of newly linked or disconnected means and authentication requests. The occasion bus responds to these variations as they come about, both with automated functions primarily based on consumer coverage or by invoking a 3rd-get together tool.

Nicholas Hughes, EITR TechnologiesNicholas Hughes

SaltStack’s competition have included very similar dynamic update abilities with recent updates and goods these types of as Chef Infra and Puppet Tasks. But Salt embedded the occasion bus into its architecture from the beginning, claimed Nicholas Hughes, a Salt open up supply contributor.

“Nobody’s performed an occasion-primarily based automation and orchestration framework as well as Salt,” claimed Hughes, who is also founder and CEO of IT automation consulting company EITR Systems in Sykesville, Md., a licensed reseller of SaltStack’s professional item. “Which is what can make SecOps the killer application for SaltStack in common — there are a large amount of goods out there that provide safety visibility, but not the identical automated remediation and collaboration for safety and ops [groups].”

VMware execs presented assurances that the corporation will continue on to guidance the Salt open up supply local community post-acquisition but were being mum on regardless of whether the SaltStack Enterprise professional item will endure. Either way, longtime SaltStack consumers say they can tumble back on the open up supply variation and believe that the acquisition will increase required R&D means to Salt development.

“A large amount of persons are concerned of tiny, open up supply-primarily based impartial firms,” claimed James Watson, a procedure operations engineer at Nice Nexidia, an Atlanta-primarily based application corporation that can make interaction analytics tools for company get in touch with centers.

James Watson, NexidiaJames Watson

Nexidia generally works by using SaltStack Enterprise for bare-steel Windows infrastructure, but a minority of its natural environment — Watson believed about 20% — is virtualized with VMware vSphere, and the VMware acquisition will nearly certainly broaden Nexidia’s use of the tool, he claimed.

The acquisition could also be essential to the sustainability of SaltStack as a seller as well as the Salt open up supply local community, Watson included.

“This calendar year, with the uncertainty of COVID-19, acquiring under the funding umbrella of the major participant in the virtualization marketplace is seriously great news,” he claimed.

 Hughes claimed he hadn’t heard SaltStack was searching for a buyer, but he agreed that Salt’s item high quality and security will very likely profit from VMware’s expenditure.

“Salt is likely well-suited to so several issues,” he claimed. “If VMware dedicates its means to the open up supply local community, that will be a win for my consumers.”