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VMware buys application virtualization joint

Thinstall hops into fat wallet

All the investor capital jingling in VMware's pockets has given the virtualization giant a healthy appetite for acquisitions. VMware said today it's planning to buy Thinstall, an application virtualization software firm based in San Francisco for an undisclosed sum.

Thinstall makes a software suite for application virtualization. Where machine virtualization (what VMware does) decouples the operating system from the hardware, application virtualization decouples the application from the OS or file system. The virtualized application gets encapsulated in its own .exe file with operating system resources presented to it as virtual resources. Because the application isn't bound to an OS, it can be run or moved to another machine without needing modify the local operating system.

The company says it has hundreds of customers and is used by major corporations such as General Electric, NASA, The US Department of Defense, Qualcomm, Lucent, and the US Internal Revenue Service.

It will continue to sell its software as a separate product until the release of a VMware-branded version in the second half of 2008. Current Thinstall customers will need to upgrade their software at that time to get technical support. VMware will offer that upgrade free to customers who buy the software after today.

Thinstar will relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to VMware's home base in Palo Alto, CA. VMware said it will bring over most of Thinstall's 20-person staff.

The acquisition follows the purchase of "virtualization orchestration" firm Dunes in September and the oddly-named Foedus only last week — which uh, we're still scratching our heads about exactly what they do. ®

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