VMware buys SaltStack for security, configuration management

Matthew N. Henry

VMware ideas to purchase configuration administration and safety automation vendor SaltStack in a go that boosts its vRealize suite and bolsters open supply Salt advancement.

Though VMware’s vRealize Automation cloud infrastructure administration software program presently integrates with infrastructure-as-code equipment such as Puppet, Crimson Hat Ansible and HashiCorp Terraform, organization officials cited SaltStack’s configuration administration abilities as important motivations for the acquisition, which is predicted to shut in Oct for an undisclosed sum.

“SaltStack will help us … to increase our automation abilities further than infrastructure to the overall software stack,” wrote Ajay Singh, senior vice president and normal supervisor of VMware’s cloud administration organization unit, in a organization site write-up. “This will consist of the software program and deals inside digital equipment and containers.”

SaltStack safety goods will also be integrated into the vRealize suite, Singh wrote. These consist of SaltStack Secure, which automates IT safety vulnerability discovery and remediation, and SaltStack Comply, a compliance policy-as-code instrument that competes with Chef InSpec, HashiCorp Sentinel and Pulumi CrossGuard.

Though not as greatly utilised as Ansible and Terraform, SaltStack has drawn notice in the previous year with the start of SaltStack Secure and a new modular item advancement approach intended to catch it up with cloud-indigenous know-how trends.

Tom Petrocelli, Amalgam InsightsTom Petrocelli

Nevertheless, VMware might have had handful of options for an acquisition of this form. Ansible presently belongs to IBM/Crimson Hat, HashiCorp Terraform appears to be destined for an IPO soon after a $175 million round of funding in April, and Puppet might not be in search of a customer, claimed Tom Petrocelli, an analyst at Amalgam Insights.

In the meantime, more recent IT automation firms such as Pulumi nonetheless attraction a lot more to midmarket consumers somewhat than VMware’s substantial enterprise client base, according to Petrocelli.

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

Firms that originally focused on configuration administration have been compelled to realign their firms as Kubernetes usurped much of their products’ worth in excess of the previous four a long time. But the broader VMware Tanzu system, in particular, will nonetheless have to have SaltStack’s configuration administration characteristics for factors outdoors of Kubernetes, Petrocelli claimed.

“You nonetheless want one thing that will configure the broader environments that Kubernetes lives in, and points Kubernetes isn’t going to bother with, like major information queues,” he claimed.

You can find also worth in possessing many IT automation equipment that functionality at many levels of infrastructure built into a dependable item established such as vRealize, Petrocelli included.

“These intricate toolchains can tumble down if they are not very well coordinated,” he claimed.

Salt end users find steadiness with VMware

SaltStack’s safety and configuration administration equipment are built on an party bus, which responds in in close proximity to actual time to infrastructure and configuration improvements, such as the existence of recently related or disconnected methods and authentication requests. The party bus responds to these improvements as they happen, either with automated capabilities based mostly on user policy or by invoking a 3rd-get together instrument.

Nicholas Hughes, EITR TechnologiesNicholas Hughes

SaltStack’s competitors have included similar dynamic update abilities with current updates and goods such as Chef Infra and Puppet Responsibilities. But Salt embedded the party bus into its architecture from the beginning, claimed Nicholas Hughes, a Salt open supply contributor.

“Nobody’s accomplished an party-based mostly automation and orchestration framework as very well as Salt,” claimed Hughes, who is also founder and CEO of IT automation consulting firm EITR Systems in Sykesville, Md., a accredited reseller of SaltStack’s professional item. “Which is what tends to make SecOps the killer app for SaltStack in normal — there are a large amount of goods out there that offer you safety visibility, but not the very same automated remediation and collaboration for safety and ops [teams].”

VMware execs offered assurances that the organization will continue to support the Salt open supply neighborhood write-up-acquisition but were being mum on regardless of whether the SaltStack Company professional item will endure. Possibly way, longtime SaltStack end users say they can tumble back on the open supply variation and feel the acquisition will add required R&D methods to Salt advancement.

“A large amount of persons are worried of tiny, open supply-based mostly independent firms,” claimed James Watson, a technique functions engineer at Nice Nexidia, an Atlanta-based mostly software program organization that tends to make conversation analytics equipment for company call facilities.

James Watson, NexidiaJames Watson

Nexidia mainly uses SaltStack Company for bare-metallic Windows infrastructure, but a minority of its environment — Watson approximated about twenty% — is virtualized with VMware vSphere, and the VMware acquisition will virtually absolutely broaden Nexidia’s use of the instrument, he claimed.

The acquisition might also be important to the sustainability of SaltStack as a vendor as very well as the Salt open supply neighborhood, Watson included.

“This year, with the uncertainty of COVID-19, getting underneath the funding umbrella of the major participant in the virtualization current market is definitely great news,” he claimed.

 Hughes claimed he hadn’t heard SaltStack was in search of a customer, but he agreed that Salt’s item high quality and steadiness will most likely benefit from VMware’s investment.

“Salt is possibly very well-suited to so numerous points,” he claimed. “If VMware dedicates its methods to the open supply neighborhood, that will be a win for my consumers.”

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