VMware buys SaltStack for security, configuration management

VMware ideas to get configuration administration and protection automation vendor SaltStack in a shift that boosts its vRealize suite and bolsters open supply Salt enhancement.

When VMware’s vRealize Automation cloud infrastructure administration software already integrates with infrastructure-as-code tools these types of as Puppet, Red Hat Ansible and HashiCorp Terraform, business officers cited SaltStack’s configuration administration abilities as critical motivations for the acquisition, which is anticipated to near in Oct for an undisclosed sum.

“SaltStack will aid us … to lengthen our automation abilities further than infrastructure to the entire application stack,” wrote Ajay Singh, senior vice president and normal manager of VMware’s cloud administration organization device, in a business site publish. “This will include the software and offers inside of digital equipment and containers.”

SaltStack protection products will also be integrated into the vRealize suite, Singh wrote. These include SaltStack Shield, which automates IT protection vulnerability discovery and remediation, and SaltStack Comply, a compliance plan-as-code device that competes with Chef InSpec, HashiCorp Sentinel and Pulumi CrossGuard.

When not as widely utilized as Ansible and Terraform, SaltStack has drawn awareness in the final 12 months with the start of SaltStack Shield and a new modular item enhancement system meant to capture it up with cloud-native technologies developments.

Tom Petrocelli, Amalgam InsightsTom Petrocelli

However, VMware might have experienced couple of alternatives for an acquisition of this sort. Ansible already belongs to IBM/Red Hat, HashiCorp Terraform would seem destined for an IPO soon after a $175 million round of funding in April, and Puppet might not be trying to find a purchaser, stated Tom Petrocelli, an analyst at Amalgam Insights.

Meanwhile, more recent IT automation companies these types of as Pulumi nonetheless enchantment a lot more to midmarket customers rather than VMware’s massive business shopper foundation, in accordance to Petrocelli.

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

Businesses that at first focused on configuration administration have been compelled to realign their organizations as Kubernetes usurped a great deal of their products’ worth over the final 4 many years. But the broader VMware Tanzu platform, especially, will nonetheless require SaltStack’s configuration administration features for factors outside the house of Kubernetes, Petrocelli stated.

“You nonetheless require a thing that will configure the broader environments that Kubernetes lives in, and matters Kubernetes doesn’t hassle with, like significant message queues,” he stated.

You can find also worth in getting various IT automation tools that perform at various layers of infrastructure developed into a constant item set these types of as vRealize, Petrocelli extra.

“These sophisticated toolchains can fall down if they are not properly coordinated,” he stated.

Salt users seek out balance with VMware

SaltStack’s protection and configuration administration tools are developed on an function bus, which responds in around true time to infrastructure and configuration adjustments, these types of as the existence of freshly linked or disconnected assets and authentication requests. The function bus responds to these adjustments as they manifest, possibly with automated features centered on person plan or by invoking a third-party device.

Nicholas Hughes, EITR TechnologiesNicholas Hughes

SaltStack’s competition have extra similar dynamic update abilities with latest updates and products these types of as Chef Infra and Puppet Jobs. But Salt embedded the function bus into its architecture from the commencing, stated Nicholas Hughes, a Salt open supply contributor.

“Nobody’s completed an function-centered automation and orchestration framework as properly as Salt,” stated Hughes, who is also founder and CEO of IT automation consulting firm EITR Systems in Sykesville, Md., a certified reseller of SaltStack’s business item. “That is what tends to make SecOps the killer application for SaltStack in normal — there are a ton of products out there that give protection visibility, but not the same automated remediation and collaboration for protection and ops [teams].”

VMware execs made available assurances that the business will continue on to assistance the Salt open supply local community publish-acquisition but were mum on irrespective of whether the SaltStack Enterprise business item will survive. Either way, longtime SaltStack users say they can fall back again on the open supply version and believe the acquisition will insert required R&D assets to Salt enhancement.

“A ton of people are worried of tiny, open supply-centered impartial companies,” stated James Watson, a process functions engineer at Great Nexidia, an Atlanta-centered software business that tends to make conversation analytics tools for corporate call centers.

James Watson, NexidiaJames Watson

Nexidia mainly takes advantage of SaltStack Enterprise for bare-metallic Home windows infrastructure, but a minority of its environment — Watson approximated about 20{fb741301fcc9e6a089210a2d6dd4da375f6d1577f4d7524c5633222b81dec1ca} — is virtualized with VMware vSphere, and the VMware acquisition will nearly definitely broaden Nexidia’s use of the device, he stated.

The acquisition might also be critical to the sustainability of SaltStack as a vendor as properly as the Salt open supply local community, Watson extra.

“This 12 months, with the uncertainty of COVID-19, acquiring underneath the funding umbrella of the significant player in the virtualization industry is actually excellent news,” he stated.

 Hughes stated he hadn’t heard SaltStack was trying to find a purchaser, but he agreed that Salt’s item quality and balance will most likely benefit from VMware’s financial commitment.

“Salt is most likely properly-suited to so a lot of matters,” he stated. “If VMware dedicates its assets to the open supply local community, that will be a gain for my buyers.”