Time to go hybrid, Larry?

Oracle acquire Nimbula – for software or for OpenStack?

Chris Mayer

Ellison’s company are still trying to work out where their cloud fits in – will Amazon EC2 experience help them out?

Oracle have snapped up private cloud startup Nimbula, but the purchase appears to be for their hybrid cloud software and experience, rather than just to get a foot in the OpenStack camp.

Yesterday’s acquisition of the private cloud infrastructure management provider could potentially open an entirely new world to the previously cloud-hesitant Oracle. Launched by former Amazon Web Services EC2 employees Chris Pinkham and Willem Van Biljon in 2010, Nimbula were quick on the scene with their private cloud stack. Yet with open clouds gaining maturity (and industry backing), the company chose to pivot, adding full API compatibility for the dominant open cloud technology, OpenStack.

In a short joint statement, the duo say that “Nimbula’s product is complementary to Oracle, and is expected to be integrated” into the database giant’s line of cloud products when the undisclosed transaction is completed in the first half of this year. Further technical details are sketchy, with both keeping their hands hidden for the time being.

Acquiring a company with OpenStack experience does give Oracle a route into the 150 vendor-strong foundation, with Nimbula joining the cloud collective last October. Competitor VMware’s purchase of OpenStack card-carrying member Nicira recently got them to the top table, so by proxy, Oracle will be interested to monitor the project’s progress.

But it’s unlikely they’ll want to dive in headfirst. Much more important for Oracle is making sense of its own cloud infrastructure, with it lacking certain features such as scaling out to a large number of servers. The wealth of experience Nimbula brings to the table, with the two co-founders instrumental in EC2’s early development, is arguably much more valuable to Oracle in the long-run, should they want to go toe-to-toe with Amazon.

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