EMC Acquires Dutch XML Company

The addition of the small but powerful X-Hive may be a game-changer in the content management market.

Data storage conglomerate EMC, which has bought 34 companies in the last five-and-a-half years, is adding XML development company X-Hive to its ever-expanding technology lineup.

EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass., announced the sale July 19. Terms were not disclosed.

X-Hive, a privately-held company with 25 employees in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, brings XML tools to the Documentum content management division of EMCs corporate lineup, adding what an EMC spokesperson called a "smart new repository combining XML indexing, XML query, full text and transformation" to round out EMCs own XML infrastructure offering.

"Integrated with our platform, X-Hive allows rich slicing and dicing of content with XML Query," Karin Ondricek, EMC senior marketing manager of content management and archiving, told eWEEK. "Integrated with our site delivery and caching technologies, it will enable next-generation dynamic-content Web sites based on XML and XML query."

X-Hive will ultimately provide the foundation for EMCs future content management products and services, focusing on XML content components rather than documents at the center of the architecture, said Peter OKelly, an analyst with the Burton Group.

"The list of reasons EMC selected X-Hive includes the scope, performance, and robustness of its XML content management products as well as a high degree of alignment with EMCs overall architectural model—the fact, for example, that X-Hive is Java-based," OKelly said. "X-Hive has also established significant market momentum in S1000D solutions, a very attractive emerging market opportunity for EMC."

S1000D is a key XML model specification for technical publications used in industries such as aircraft maintenance.

The content management market is undergoing significant change due to the widespread shift to XML, increasingly stringent record-keeping requirements, and a general need to more effectively manage both structured and semi-structured information, OKelly said.

"XQuery, a W3C recommendation for an XML query language, is a recent development thats likely to accelerate the move to XML in much the same way, more than 20 years ago, that broad market support for SQL accelerated the shift to relational database management systems," he said. "The market dynamics are very disruptive for incumbent document and content management vendors; they can either exploit the market transition by shifting their focus from document management to XML content component management or expect to be disrupted as competitors and new market entrants exploit the new opportunities."

OKelly said the acquisition is a clear signal that EMC intends to become a leading competitor in next-generation content management.

"[They want to] be a disrupter, rather than disrupted," OKelly said, "even though the architectural shift to XML content component management and XQuery will have repercussions throughout the EMC software product line. If EMC is successful in seamlessly bridging its historical market position in document management into next-generation XML content management, it will be very well-positioned to benefit from the explosive growth of XML content."

He expects the acquisition to lead to further consolidation in the content management market, with EMC competitors trying to keep pace with the storage giant.

/zimages/1/28571.gifEMC is starting to realize the fruits of its acquisitions. Click here to read more.

X-Hive CEO Jeroen Van Rotterdam said that EMC initiated the transaction. "They have done significant testing of our products and decided that an acquisition strategy was the best way for them to move forward," he said.

As a stand-alone company, Van Rotterdam said that X-Hive was "doing extremely well. When EMC finished their testing, I expected them to take a stake in the company, but I didnt expect them to do a 100 percent buyout. During the test period, the companies were working together, and we were pleasantly surprised by their professionalism and their in-depth knowledge and vision."

All X-Hive employees will stay on board, Van Rotterdam said, and the company will immediately hire new staff.

"Our employees are excited that our technology will now be commercialized on a much larger scale. I will absolutely stay with EMC, and it is exciting to see that XML technology will move from a niche technology to large-scale adoption," he said.

EMC has been telling reporters and analysts for months that it intends to cut back on acquisitions and focus on its core businesses. However, since February, EMC has bought two companies: security vendor Verid in June and now X-Hive.

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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...