IBM Acquires Cloudant in Major Cloud Move

IBM will add Cloudant's NoSQL database as a service (DBaaS) to its portfolio of cloud products, services and infrastructure as Big Blue chases AWS.

LAS VEGAS—IBM continued on its journey to assume a leadership role in the cloud computing space with the announcement of its intent to acquire Cloudant, a startup that provides a database-as a service (DBaaS).

At the IBM Pulse 2014 conference here, IBM today announced a definitive agreement to acquire Boston-based Cloudant, a privately held DBaaS provider that enables developers to easily and quickly create next-generation mobile and Web apps.

Cloudant will extend IBM's big data and analytics, cloud computing and mobile offerings by further helping clients take advantage of these key growth initiatives. Financial terms were not disclosed. Clients across a variety of industries, including gaming, financial services, mobile devices, online learning, retail and health care, are already using Cloudant technology.

"IBM is leading the charge in helping its clients take advantage of big data, cloud and mobile," said Sean Poulley, vice president of Databases & Data Warehousing at IBM, in a statement. "Cloudant sits squarely at the nexus of these three key transformational areas and enables clients to rapidly deliver an entirely new level of innovative, engaging and data-rich apps to the marketplace."

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, IBM senior vice president of Software and Cloud Solutions, during a keynote at the conference, where he announced IBM's plan to acquire Cloudant.

"IBM has a rich history in the field of data management, and one that will truly differentiate Cloudant's technology in the marketplace," said Cloudant CTO and co-founder Adam Kocoloski, in a statement. "Joining IBM allows Cloudant to innovate faster than ever before, and IBM's track record in open-source software gives us complete confidence in our ongoing collaboration with the Apache CouchDB project. Cloudant could not have found a better home than IBM."
Cloudant complements IBM's big data and analytics portfolio beyond traditional data management by providing a database as a service that enables clients to simplify and accelerate the development of engaging and scalable mobile and Web apps. Cloudant also is integral to IBM's MobileFirst solutions, IBM said. It enables developers who use Worklight, IBM's mobile app development software, to quickly create flexible, scalable apps that include a variety of structured and unstructured data.

"Cloudant showcases IBM's continued push to transition into a leading cloud services provider," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "IBM was largely blindsided by how far and fast Amazon was able to move AWS into IBM's space, and now the firm is racing to acquire the technology, and more importantly the people, that will allow them to fight back. IBM was designed over a century ago to periodically undergo massive changes to respond to major market swings, and that ability has allowed them to survive far longer than the vast majority of their peers. You're seeing that unique capability demonstrated as IBM morphs yet again."