February 11, 2011
Focus.com Cloud RoundtableLast week marked the merger between Membase (formerly NorthScale) and CouchOne, associated companies producing NoSQL products. It’s a logical combination as it creates an end-to-end NoSQL solution.
But more than that it’s an indication of something I’ve been noticing at the lower end of the Cloud Computing stack. Notwithstanding the outlier acquisitions which are examples of large, traditional vendors trying to jump on the Cloud bandwagon, it seems to me that we are seeing an acceleration in mergers between infrasturcture offerings that provide merely a point solution. I see this as part of a wider trend which is the reducing value of core technologies as everything low in the stack becomes commoditized. Looking forwards it is worth thinking what this means for other companies at a similar level in the ecosystem.
I’ve long proclaimed the huge number of companies doing private/hybrid cloud automation services - enStratus, Netuitive, enomaly, AdaptiveComputing – how much opportunity is there really for all these individual players at what is (as I keep repeating) a highly commoditized level in the stack.
It’s important to stand back and think about what this means for the broader industry, over the next few years there is going to be a significant acceleration in two different things;
- Acquisitions by large players of these sorts of technologies (CastIron with IBM, Heroku with Salesforce, Boomi with Dell)
- More mergers by smaller players wanting to attain some level of scale and realizing they can’t do it alone
Of course all of this is fuelled by voracious VCs and angels who, realizing the opportunity is now, want to make a quick return while they still can. To do so they need to look at building scale and, more importantly, maintaining relevance. Mergers are a good way to do that. We reflected on this during a focus.com roundtable I moderated last week (see below or if the embed doesn’t work click here). During the roundtable, John Taschek from salesforce.com particularly called out this aspect when he talked about a marketplace full of;
products that are little more than features
Which is interesting since his own company, salesforce, has been snapping up many of those feature/products. So I’m seeing this trend accelerating going forwards, because of this it’s even more important that startups think seriously if they’re really creating a product or merely a feature – especially so if they play at the infrastructure end of the stack.