(Image credit – the big cup of coffee I made myself after my four-hour run that I, coincidentally, poured into a cup that my friends at Datos sent me a couple of months ago)

Big news this morning from everyone’s favorite cloud data management vendor Rubrik, the company that I’ve long thought is the ultimate thorn in the side of companies like NetApp (and, in my view, a likely future acquisition by them). Rubrik is announcing that it has acquired Datos IO. For those unaccustomed to these vendors, a quick primer…

Rubrik – (more on them here) is a data management company. Essentially what that means is that, in a cloud-native way, they offer all of the data management tools that enterprises need – data protection, search, analytics, archival etc. Essentially Rubrik is what you’d get if you’d designed a NetApp in a world unconstrained by legacy.

Datos IO – does similar stuff, and calls itself the application-centric data management company. Datos applies data management without any dependencies on particular infrastructure and hence believes it is justified in this “app-centric” moniker. Datos IO was founded in 2014 and had raised a modest $15 million to date. Like Rubrik, Datos IO allows customers to protect, manage and recover their data.

Anyway, on to the deal. Rubrik is pushing the aspects around Datos specializing in backup and recovery for NoSQL databases and big data file systems. The company explains that the acquisition extends Rubrik’s reach into mission-critical cloud applications and databases increasingly adopted by application and DevOps teams and suggests that the two companies’ have complementary product portfolios.

Indeed, Rubrik is emphatic about the value Datos brings them and suggests that Datos’ platform, RecoverX is a new approach to comprehensive data management for modern cloud applications built on NoSQL databases (MongoDB, Cassandra, Couchbase, Amazon DynamoDB) and big data file systems (Cloudera, Hortonworks). Rubrik goes on o explain that Datos IO has filed 22 patents in application-aware data management for enterprise use cases of backup and recovery, test/dev refresh, in-place analytics, and cloud mobility.

In terms of how the deal will progress, Datos IO will continue to be led by Tarun Thakur as a new business unit called Rubrik Datos IO reporting to CEO Bipul Sinha. It has to be said that the modest amount of funding that Datos had raised, and the fact that Datos hadn’t seemed to really achieve escape velocity, leads me to suspect that this was more a case of a fire sale than a strategic acquisition. I put a few questions to Sinha about the deal – both the justification for acquiring, the complementary aspects and what it means for Rubrik. His response:

Datos IO is the leader in data management for NoSQL databases and big data file systems, with customers in three of the top 15 companies in the Fortune 500.  Datos IO’s market is still early stage, but growing very rapidly… This is a great time to get in. Rubrik approached Datos IO about a potential acquisition.  It was quickly apparent that our shared vision for building a control plane that can automate, orchestrate, and secure data anywhere and our complementary technologies made this a good combination. With the acquisition, Rubrik accelerates its mission to become the premier cloud platform for enterprises to orchestrate application data across datacenter and public cloud.

MyPOV

Can you say fire sale? I’ve met with the Datos IO team and they’re a good bunch of people. But being good people doesn’t, unfortunately, translate into commercial success or follow-on funding and I suspect Datos IO was a victim of an unwillingness by its backers to continue funding the business. Rubrik won’t release the financial terms of the deal but no doubt they picked up Datos for a song.

I’ll be interested to see how the two product portfolios are combined over time, and how many of Datos staffers stay on with Rubrik. Rubrik has raised huge amounts of funding, and there will be some people looking for the company to accelerate its own exit. Can you say IPO (or trade sale)?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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