Open Source

OpenStack Acquisitions: The sellout runs at full speed

This year OpenStack celebrates its fifth birthday. Despite its young past the open source project already caused quite a stir, driven by a solvent ecosystem consisting of the who is who of the cloud and open source industry. This has a positive affect on the market maturity. Linux needed around 10 years and thus twice as long to achieve similar market relevance. The OpenStack Foundation has learned from the older brother and does a lot of things right. One signal for the importance and market maturity of OpenStack is the acquisition behavior. The sell out runs at full speed.

OpenStack acquisitions over time

After only five years, the OpenStack community already looks back at a proud number of acquisitions. The year 2014 can be regarded as the starting shot when the first big IT vendors started their shopping tour to snap the strategic most important OpenStack startups for their portfolios.

  • April 2014: Red Hat buys Ceph storage vendor Inktank and transfers the product as „Red Hat Ceph Storage“ in the own portfolio.
  • Juni 2014: Red Hat buys OpenStack integration service provider eNovance to increase its consulting competency for its customers.
  • September 2014: Cisco buys OpenStack-as-a-Service provider Metacloud and transfers the product as „Cisco OpenStack Private Cloud“ in the own portfolio.
  • Oktober 2014: EMC buys the OpenStack distribution Cloudscaling and will release an own OpenStack product called „Caspsian“ in November 2015 that is based on the Cloudscaling technology.
  • Juni 2015: Cisco buys OpenStack pioneer Piston Cloud Computing to strengthen its Intercloud initiative.
  • Juni 2015: IBM buys OpenStack private cloud provider BlueBox to expand its hybrid cloud offering.

During this wave of mergers the big vendors have acquired most of the hitherto most promising OpenStack startups. This shows that OpenStack has made it on top of the strategic agendas of the big players and underwrites its importance. The vendors expand their portfolios but also want to become an inherent part of the OpenStack market. In addition, they buy todays rare OpenStack knowledge from the market.

However, one attractive target is still not taken: Mirantis. Even if the self-appointed pure play OpenStack vendor is today’s highly profiled acquisition candidate. With good reason, Mirantis is offering an own distribution (Mirantis OpenStack), a hosted private cloud (Mirantis OpenStack Express) as well as consulting services (Mirantis Consulting) and training services (Mirantis Training). So, a quite appealing target for the prospective buyer to make the portfolio OpenStack ready in all aspects and that at a single blow.

The shopping tour of the big vendors speaks for their commitment and the progressed maturity stage of OpenStack. Indeed, a good sign for the further development of the open source project. However, it seems that the OpenStack ecosystem more and more is getting under the control of the big players.

By Rene Buest

Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies.

Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn.