Smoke signals

IBM steps up efforts to conquer cloud with Cloudant purchase

Lucy Carey

Ambitious Big Blue looks to the future with acquisition of Boston Database-as-a-Service provider for an undisclosed sum.


Yesterday, IBM went public with the news of their
purchase of Cloudant. Although
the final price has yet to be disclosed, the Boston headquartered
Database-as-a-Service – (DBaaS) provider  will add a valuable
new file to IBM’s already bulging portfolio of offerings, which
extend to Big
Data and Analytics
, Cloud Computing and

IBM will now take full control of the startup,
furthering its efforts to consolidate a place for the Big Blue in
the sprawling world of the cloud. Cloudant already serves a diverse
base of customers, in areas ranging from the games and in the
financial industry, to e-learning, health, retail, and mobile.
In May last year, it secured $12m
in funding, with contributors including In-Q-Tel, Rackspace and Toba

The software utilised by Cloudant is grounded in
technology by open-source minor league player CouchDB. Built to process
JSON-formatted information, it utilises Apache Lucene for
searches, provides cross-region replication, and supports both
single and multi-tenant clusters.

It’s an active participant in JSON, JavaScript, HTTP
and NoSQL based open source project
Apache CouchDB
, and is also an integral part of IBM’s Mobile

In an email to the CouchDB dev list, Cloudant
cofounder and CTO Adam Kocoloski wrote, “I would not have agreed to
this transaction if I had any concerns about Cloudant’s ability to
continue its contributions and collaboration with Apache
CouchDB…IBM is fully supportive of our efforts here, and I’m
looking forward to bringing increased resources to bear in support
of the project.”

Derek Schoettle, CEO of Cloudant, added that, by
providing a DBaaS offering an application for database management
to developers and administrators, workloads would be made that bit
easier. He cited the company’s decision to join IBM as next wave of
innovation happening in business technology, no longer on
infrastructure, but at the data level.

The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end
of March. Following this, the company will sit in IBM’s newly
formed Information and Analytics Group. This news is the latest in
a string of announcements from IBM, which has been actively

hacking away
at rosters of staff and businesses no longer
applicable to its core strategy.

Being part of the great flight to the cloud is an
important part of the IBM roadmap going forward, and it’s something
that senior vice president Robert LeBlanc sees as analogous to the
movement that happened in client server computing and web
computing. IBM believes that, “this is the next generation.” Those
shifts lasted decades, and the company are putting their bets on
that being the case for cloud too.


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