The definitive agreement will see SpringSource and its lean software framework become part of VMware's cloud infrastructure strategy, aimed at helping businesses more efficiently build, run and manage applications within internal and external cloud architectures.
VMware will acquire the privately held SpringSource for approximately $362m (£220m) in cash and equity plus the assumption of approximately $58m (£35m) of unvested stock and options.
Paul Maritz, president and chief executive officer of VMware, said: "Today's modern computing environments are moving to an application and data-centric world powered by state of the art virtualised and cloud computing platforms.
"The combination of SpringSource and VMware capitalises on this shift and places us right at the intersection of the most important forces in the software market today – virtualisation, modern application frameworks and cloud computing."
Through its Spring Framework Java development model, SpringSource is the company behind some of the most popular and fastest growing open source developer communities, application frameworks, runtimes and management tools and is a major contributor to the popular Java application server Apache Tomcat.
According to VMware, the plan is to merge these technologies into an integrated Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that can be hosted at customer datacentres or at cloud service providers.
Much like the cloud platforms offered by the likes of Salesforce and Amazon, this should then allow developers to quickly build new applications as well as host virtualised versions of existing applications.
According to a recent study by analyst firm Forrester Research, the PaaS market is growing rapidly and is expected to be worth around $15bn (£9bn) by 2016.
Rod Johnson, chief executive officer of SpringSource, said: "VMware has led the modernisation of datacentre infrastructures through innovative virtualisation and cloud architectures, providing customers with cost savings, agility and choice.
"The SpringSource team and community are committed to revolutionising the way companies build, run and manage applications. By combining forces, I'm confident that we'll be able to deliver a set of truly remarkable solutions that dramatically simplify enterprise IT."
The acquisition has been approved by SpringSource's stockholders and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2009, subject to customary closing conditions.
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