IBM Buys Gravitant, Bolsters Hybrid Cloud Play

IBM acquires Gravitant to add brokerage software that eases the purchase and management of computing capabilities across hybrid cloud environments.

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IBM continues its effort to bolster its cloud platform, this time with the acquisition of Gravitant, a provider of brokerage software for the cloud.

Privately held Austin, Texas-based Gravitant develops cloud-based software to enable organizations to easily plan, buy and manage, or "broker," software and computing services from multiple suppliers across hybrid clouds. With these capabilities, mixed environments of private and public clouds can begin to be integrated and digitally managed as one for greater performance and efficiency. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

"The reality of enterprise IT is that it is many clouds with many characteristics, whether they be economic, capacity or security," said Martin Jetter, senior vice president of Global Technology Services at IBM, in a statement. "Gravitant provides an innovative approach to add choice and simplicity to how enterprises can now manage their environments. It will be a key component as we broaden our hybrid cloud services."

With the Gravitant solutions, everyone from IT managers to authorized employees can review and purchase compute and software services from different suppliers, as well as compare capabilities and pricing, all through a central console. Once purchased, the technology can be offered as a service and managed from the same console for greater efficiency and visibility into how the services are being used.

"I think this is an important part of the overall IBM hybrid cloud story," Judith Hurwitz, president and CEO of the Hurwitz & Associates research and consulting firm, told eWEEK. "IBM needed to have a strong cloud management platform, and Gravitant will give them a good technology for this. It fills a hole."

Indeed it does. And IBM has been on an acquisitive tear of late to fill "holes" in its platform strategy. Just last week at its IBM Insight 2015 conference, Big Blue announced a definitive agreement to acquire the digital assets of The Weather Company to serve as the foundation for the new Watson Internet of things (IoT) unit and Watson IoT cloud platform, building on a $3 billion commitment IBM made in March 2015 to invest in related offerings and services.

Last month, IBM announced an agreement to acquire Cleversafe to integrate the Chicago-based provider of object-based storage software and appliances into its IBM Cloud business unit to provide customers with data flexibility, simplified management and consistency with on-premises, cloud and hybrid cloud deployment options.

In September, IBM announced its acquisition of Meteorix, which specializes in providing services around the Workday finance and HR platform. That acquisition builds on IBM's investments and research in cloud computing and workforce science.

Now IBM plans to integrate the Gravitant capabilities into the IBM Global Technology Services unit. In addition, IBM Cloud plans to integrate the capabilities into software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings, extending the company's growing hybrid cloud solutions and capabilities.

"IBM is the leader in hybrid cloud and enterprise IT services and our technology will advance our clients' experiences as well as bring new capabilities to IBM's base," said Mohammed Farooq, chairman and CEO at Gravitant, in a statement. "Together, we'll be able to help more enterprises manage their expanding private and public cloud environments."

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, said he believes enterprises are moving toward hybrid cloud but barriers continue to impede businesses from fully using those services. Among the challenges businesses face are effectively comparing the value various cloud suppliers, efficiently purchasing and managing cloud services, and monitoring how cloud services are being used internally, he noted.

"IBM's acquisition of Gravitant is designed to help customers address those points, since the company offers business customers a single console that provides clear, unified visibility into virtually every kind of hybrid cloud environment and transaction," King told eWEEK. "That includes hybrid cloud deployments involving multiple service providers. Since Gravitant has been around since 2004, I expect IBM was impressed by its solid track record, as well as its innovative solutions. In any case, I believe Gravitant will be a valuable addition to IBM's hybrid cloud solutions and services portfolio."