Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard about IBM’s acquisition of Cast Iron. As analysts continue to sort through the meaning of this move, we thought we would throw in our two cents.
Jitterbit is excited about this news for a few reasons.
This move validates cloud computing – as if it needed it. This is what most folks are latching onto when reading the tea leaves of the Cast Iron acquisition. And this thinking is accurate. As IBM stated, it expects the global cloud computing market to grow at a compounded annual rate of 28 percent from $47 billion in 2008 to $126 billion by 2012. It’s clear, IBM believes in cloud computing. Which puts them in a growing majority. What more and more people are also starting to realize is that as companies move from on-premise systems to a hybrid cloud/on-premises model, data integration is going to be the key factor in determining success. Even the select companies that are moving all cloud need to engage in serious integration projects.
However, what the pundits seem to be missing here is that Cast Iron didn’t make its name on cloud computing. In fact, they only recently put their appliance in the cloud and offered it as a service. Cast Iron cut its teeth selling blackbox appliances with a focus on simplifying data integration. This is what an overwhelming majority of their customers have invested in. Offering an appliance in the cloud was the next logical step to simplifying the process (because let’s be honest, who really wants to buy a 6-digit blackbox for their environment?). So in this sense what IBM has actually done is to validate the simplification of data integration.
When you look to offer quick, easy-to-use data integration for the business analyst you’re encroaching on Jitterbit territory. The fact that Big Blue is getting into the game just means we need to show another proprietary behemoth how it’s done – assuming simplification is IBM’s goal. Cast Iron will be integrated into IBM’s WebSphere business, and the longer-term question is how or if the code bases, functionality and user experiences can be combined. What this means for partner and customers remains to be seen.
Liz Herbert, a Forrester analyst wonders along similar lines, “These customers were a top priority for Cast Iron. When they are assimilated into the larger IBM organization, that might change for some of them.”
In the short term, hopefully not too much will change. But it will be interesting to see how IBM handles current customers in regards to the product direction and Cast Iron’s focus on simplification moving forward. I suppose there’s always an alternative integration solution…and that is probably the real reason we’re excited!