When VMware purchased SpringSource last summer, there wasn’t a lot of product overlap between the companies. With today’s release of tc Server for Spring, the two companies are moving their product lines together to cover the gaps between their platforms. This new version of tc Server is based on Tomcat and SpringSource’s Hyperic monitoring tools.

David McJannet, director of product marketing at SpringSource, said that tc Server for Spring is aimed at spreading the benefits of simplicity across the modern operational environment.

“If you really look at the broader market trends, the drive toward lighter-weight applications and lighter-weight runtime platforms is a clear direction from a market standpoint,” said McJannet.

“Part of that is because people increasingly want a platform and applications for virtualizing application architecture. Spring is helping create lightweight applications, but those might be deployed on heavier-weight architectures. We’re pairing it up with a runtime based on Tomcat to have a lightweight, lean resource-efficient environment.”

For Java developers, tc Server will feel familiar: It is 100% compatible with Tomcat 6 applications because it is essentially a souped up version of that container. SpringSource has added a host of monitoring features to Tomcat to make it an enterprise product. Specifically, tc Server is instrumented with elements of the Hyperic monitoring product line. McJannet said that both developers and operations folk can monitor Spring-based applications from start to finish with tc Server for Spring.

“The instrumentation provides performance maximum and minimum times, and throughput per-second types of metrics for Spring Web controllers,” said McJannet. “For an application that processes orders, you’re able to measure how many orders per second that application is processing.”

McJannet said that specific actions can be taken based on those numbers, allowing developers and operators to tie metrics to service-level agreements. If performance drops, those numbers can be used as an event to trigger the creation of new servers.

VMware has been preparing to take on the masters of the Java world for some time. In 2005, the company began talking about bare-metal provisioning; it said it was experimenting with running a JVM and Java application without an operating system underneath. While that vision is not entirely dead, McJannet said that much of what he sees arising in the market is revolving around quickly provisioning applications onto template-based operating system stacks. That means the operating system isn’t going away any time soon, he said.

But McJannet didn’t rule out the possibility of bare-metal provisioning becoming a hot topic as the year moves on. “If I were to pick two theme areas for 2010 and 2011 as we build out capabilities, they’re basically automation and optimization. How do we get more integrated with the hypervisor? Are we announcing some of that? Not yet. But I think it’s a natural progression.

“Right now, we’re bridging that gap between developers and operations,” he said.