IBM Acquires Cloudant to Boost Cloud Databases


Some of the thousands of servers inside an IBM SoftLayer data center. IBM today acquired database as a service provider Cloudant. (Photo: SoftLayer)

IBM is acquiring Cloudant, a database as a service (DBaaS) provider that enables developers to create next generation mobile and web applications. Delivered as a managed cloud service, Cloudant technology simplifies database management for app developers. The acquisition sits squarely at the intersection of three important areas for IBM: big data, cloud computing and mobile.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition of Cloudant is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014.

“IBM is leading the charge in helping its clients take advantage of big data, cloud and mobile,” said Sean Poulley, vice president, databases and data warehousing, IBM. “Cloudant sits squarely at the nexus of these three key transformational areas and enables clients to rapidly deliver an entirely new level of innovative, engaging and data-rich apps to the marketplace.” Cloudant will become part of IBM’s newly formed Information and Analytics Group.

Complement to SoftLayer

After acquiring SoftLayer as its cloud “crown jewel,” the company has been busy developing and acquiring complementary pieces to the SoftLayer infrastructure foundations. IBM became familiar with Cloudant because they were a SoftLayer customer. Cloudant has customers in gaming, financial services, mobile device manufacturers, online learning, retail and healthcare.

“Cloudant’s decision to join IBM highlights that the next wave of enterprise technology innovation has moved beyond infrastructure and is now happening at the data layer,” said Cloudant CEO Derek Schoettle. “Our relationship with IBM and SoftLayer has evolved significantly in recent years, with more connected devices generating data at an unprecedented rate. Cloudant’s NoSQL expertise, combined with IBM’s enterprise reliability and resources, adds data layer services to the IBM portfolio that others can’t match.”

Cloudant works with IBM’s big data and analytics portfolio by giving clients a tool to simplify and accelerate the development of scalable mobile and web apps. The acquisition also strengthens IBM’s cloud solutions by providing yet another popular developer tool to build, test, deploy and scale cloud applications on a variety of cloud layers. IBM’s MobileFirst solutions stand to gain as Cloudant will be integral, enabling developers who use Worklight, IBM’s mobile app development software, to quickly create scalable apps that include a variety of structured and unstructured data.

IBM Bets Big on Big Data

The acquisition marks continued cloud and big data investment on the part of IBM. The company has heavily invested in big data and analytics both in-house and through acquisition. In addition to organic growth through research and development, the company invested more than $17 billion on more than 30 acquisitions in the space. The resultof this heavy focus in business analytics is now nearly a $16 billion dollar business. The $16 billion figure was originally the target for 2015, and the company has upped projections to $20 billion.

IBM is trying to capitalize on the proliferation of mobile device usage worldwide with the Cloudant acquisition. With five petabytes of data being created every day by mobile phone subscribers around the world, user data must be always available and easily accessed by massive volumes and networks of users and devices and Cloudant helps build these scalable applications.

“IBM has a rich history in the field of data management, and one that will truly differentiate Cloudant’s technology in the marketplace,” said Cloudant CTO and Co-Founder Adam Kocoloski. “Joining IBM allows Cloudant to innovate faster than ever before, and IBM’s track record in open source software gives us complete confidence in our ongoing collaboration with the Apache CouchDB project. Cloudant could not have found a better home than IBM.” The DBaaS company is an active participant and contributor to the open source database community Apache CouchDB, and says it will continue to contribute.

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About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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