Samsung Buys Container Maker Joyent, Will Build Own Cloud

Samsung now plans to build its own cloud platform to support its growing lineup of mobile, Internet of things and cloud-based software and services.

Two days after Microsoft surprised most of the IT world by revealing it would buy professional social network LinkedIn for $26 billion, Samsung pulled a surprise of its own by announcing it is buying cloud infrastructure provider Joyent for undisclosed compensation.

The transaction is expected to close later this year, Samsung said.

Joyent made its mark by being an early provider of a dependable container-based cloud application infrastructure, which delivers higher performance and agility and costs less than traditional, server-based virtualized infrastructure. The San Francisco-based company was doing this long before Docker updated and popularized containers as a delivery model in the IT stack three years ago.

Samsung Building IP Around Its Smartphone Empire

With the acquisition of the 11-year-old cloud software pioneer, South Korea-based Samsung demonstrated its avowed strategy to look to outside IP as it builds new software and services around its core mobile phone business.

Joyent competes with much larger companies such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, and has raised more than $125 million from investors that include Intel Capital, Greycroft Partners, Peter Thiel and Telefonica.

Using Joyent's expertise, Samsung now will be able to build its own cloud platform capable of supporting its growing lineup of mobile, Internet of things (IoT) and cloud-based software and services. It also will provide help in moving Samsung into the big data IT category for moving large workloads and data sets on Joyent's infrastructure.

What Containers Do

Containers as an emerging technology has been attracting tremendous interest as an alternative to traditional virtualization. While currently only available for Linux-based environments, containers resolve some of the problems typically associated with hypervisors and virtual machines. Because of their fundamentally different architectures, containers don’t require a hypervisor and, therefore, provide better performance than applications running in virtual machines.

This same architectural difference also results in faster provisioning of resources and quicker availability of new application instances. For organizations embracing a DevOps culture, this is a great fit, allowing development teams to streamline their develop-test-production processes.

Samsung, which has bought 15 companies since it went public in 2003, said it will integrate Joyent into its mobile division. It will retain the Joyent name and its top managers and operate independently within the corporate firewall.

In the last two years, Samsung also has acquired SmartThings, which helps connect home appliances to each other in IoT, for $250 million, and LoopPay, a developer of mobile payment technologies, for $160 million. LoopPay became Samsung Pay, the company's mobile payment system launched last year.

Key Joyent Players to Stay With Samsung

Joyent's key players, including CEO Scott Hammond, CTO Bryan Cantrill and Vice President of Products Bill Fine will continue with Samsung to work on companywide cloud initiatives.

"Samsung evaluated a wide range of potential companies in the public and private cloud infrastructure space with a focus on leading-edge scalable technology and talent," Injong Rhee, CTO of mobile communications at Samsung Electronics, said in a statement to the press. "In Joyent, we saw an experienced management team with deep domain expertise and a robust cloud technology validated by some of the largest Fortune 500 customers."

As billions of smartphones and connected devices—many made by Samsung and running the Android operating system—are being used around the world, cloud computing has become central for both business and personal computing and communication. The addition of Joyent puts Samsung squarely in the center of that ecosystem.

Joyent CEO: 'We Lacked Scale Until Today'

"Since its inception just over 10 years ago, Joyent has lived on the leading edge of technical innovation," Hammond wrote in his blog. "The Joyent team pioneered public cloud computing (and hybrid cloud), nurtured and grew Node.js into a de facto standard for Web, mobile and IoT architectures, and was among the first to embrace and industrialize containers, compute-centric object storage, and what is now coming to be known as serverless computing.

"Based upon this foundation, and our industry-leading products and services, including Triton, Joyent’s containers-as-a-service solution, and Manta, our robust and scalable object-storage solution, Joyent is now poised to deliver 10 more years of innovation and to continue to be a leader in the evolution of cloud computing,” he continued.

"But, until today, we lacked one thing. We lacked the scale required to compete effectively in the large, rapidly growing and fiercely competitive cloud computing market. Now, that changes," Hammond wrote.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...