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IBM Buys DBaaS Provider Compose

Darryl K. Taft covers IBM, big data and a number of other topics for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

IBM acquires another database-as-a-service (DBaaS) provider, Compose, in its play to flesh out its cloud services

Continuing on its recent tear in the cloud space, IBM today announced it has acquired another database-as-a-service (DBaaS) provider, Compose.

Compose offers auto-scaling, production-ready databases to help software development teams deploy data services quickly and easily. The company supports five popular open-source databases: MongoDB, Redis, Elasticsearch, PostgreSQL and RethinkDB. IBM did not disclose financial terms of its acquisition of the privately held San Mateo, Calif.-based company.

The acquisition of Compose furthers IBM’s commitment to accelerate developer productivity and innovation around open-source and cloud data services. It comes on the heels of IBM announcing several new initiatives this week to fuel open cloud innovation, including contributing technology and developers to open-source cloud projects across analytics, mobile and cloud data services. It also comes a year after IBM acquired Cloudant, another DBaaS provider.

Expand Bluemix

“Compose’s breadth of database offerings will expand IBM’s Bluemix platform for the many app developers seeking production-ready databases built on open source,” said Derek Schoettle, general manager of IBM Cloud Data Services and former CEO of Cloudant. “Compose furthers IBM’s commitment to ensuring developers have access to the right tools for the job by offering the broadest set of DBaaS services and the flexibility of hybrid cloud deployment.”

IBMThe cloud database arena is projected to be worth $14 billion by 2019, and open-source databases like MongoDB play a significant part—and are a rapidly growing portion —in this sector. Driving this popularity among developers is the ability to make Web and mobile applications easy to build and grow, without the distraction of back-end database and systems administration. Thousands of customers across a variety of industries, including retail, the Internet of things (IoT), higher education, marketing services and e-commerce, have created more than 100,000 databases with Compose. More than 3,600 companies rely on Compose-hosted databases for keeping their apps in production.

Compose provides constant database monitoring and management by DBaaS and DevOps experts. The company’s platform features “containerized” DBaaS platform technology to allow for fast deployment and scaling of popular open-source DBaaS services for customers. It also features built-in redundancy, backup and failover for uninterrupted DBaaS service, and application uptime. And it offers add-ons such as Compose Transporter, which helps developers move data between services like MongoDB and Elasticsearch for easier application development.

“IBM is really serious about fleshing out their cloud services,” said Rob Enderle, founder of the Enderle Group and longtime IBM watcher. “Compose has a very powerful cloud open-source database platform which, coupled with IBM’s database knowledge and IP, could become the leading cloud database offering. IBM is moving massively to become the leading cloud services provider and to get there continues to cherry pick firms to flesh out their offerings. This acquisition is in support of that strategy.”


IBM’s Cloud Data Services offerings are composable, integrated services for developers that run on IBM’s Bluemix Platform as a Service. Compose provides IBM with an enhanced framework to deliver production ready, cloud database services for developers. IBM’s containerized data services approach will further drive the introduction of new cloud data services offerings.

“By joining IBM, we will have an opportunity to accelerate the development of our database platform and offer even more services and support to developer teams,” said Kurt Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Compose, in a statement. “As developers, we know how hard it can be to manage databases at scale, which is exactly why we built Compose—to take that burden off of our customers and allow them to get back to the engineering they love.”

IBM’s purchase of Compose reflects two essential points, said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT. First is the company’s continuing, proactive build-out of enterprise-centric cloud services. That certainly began with the 2013 acquisition of SoftLayer—which was well-represented among major enterprises—but has continued since then with both internal development efforts and key external acquisitions like Compose, King said.

IBM“The second point underscores the degree to which developer-based innovation is core to IBM efforts, including cloud,” King said.”The company employs tens of thousands of developers and is deeply cognizant of the trends and technologies that are crucial to enterprise development efforts. That’s really where Compose fits in. Its history and expertise with MongoDB, Redis, Elasticsearch, PostgreSQL, and other DBaaS offerings make Compose a solid fit and excellent acquisition for IBM, especially given the company’s strategic focus on web and mobile app development.”

Last year at its IBM Pulse 2014 conference in Las Vegas, IBM announced it was acquiring Boston-based Cloudant, a privately held DBaaS provider that enables developers to easily and quickly create next-generation mobile and Web apps.

IBM acquired Cloudant to extend IBM’s big data and analytics, cloud computing and mobile offerings by further helping clients take advantage of these key growth initiatives. IBM also said clients across a variety of industries, including gaming, financial services, mobile device manufacturers, online learning, retail and health care, were already using Cloudant technology.

Cloudant is a contributor to the Apache CouchDB open-source database community. The database delivers high availability, elastic scalability and innovative mobile device synchronization. Cloudant’s JSON cloud-based data service allows mobile and Web developers to easily store and access the explosion of mobile data. Increasingly, developers have embraced NoSQL databases because of their flexibility, and JSON has become the predominant NoSQL database technology for mobile and Web app developers.

“This is truly the first NoSQL database as a service that is ready for the enterprise,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud, during a keynote at the conference, where he announced IBM’s plan to acquire Cloudant.

Originally published on eWeek.

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