Sunny weather for hybrid cloud deals

by Scott Denne, James Curtis, Steven Hill

To stay relevant during a massive shift toward the use of public clouds, makers of on-premises IT hardware and software need products that help customers develop, run and manage their infrastructure on multi-cloud and hybrid cloud environments. The hunt for those products has been a catalyst for recent acquisitions, including, most notably, IBM’s $34bn pickup of Red Hat. Two other deals that match that theme were struck today, one by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and one by Red Hat, while it awaits the close of its sale to IBM.

The transactions cover different segments of IT – Red Hat purchased storage software, while HPE bought a data platform. Yet both illustrate that helping clients navigate mixed cloud environments has become a strategic priority for legacy IT technology firms. In its deal, Red Hat reached for NooBaa, a provider of object-storage management software for data that resides across multiple clouds.

In the other transaction, HPE nabbed BlueData, a maker of virtualization software for data workloads. That acquisition gives HPE software to bundle with its HPC systems, enabling it to offer both on-premises hardware and the software to run elastic data workloads across a hybrid environment. It’s a move HPE needed to make as more data and analytics tasks are transitioning from on-premises infrastructure at a faster pace than other IT workloads.

According to 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Cloud, Hosting and Managed Services, Workloads and Key Projects, 19% of organizations will use public cloud offerings as their primary IT environment by 2020, compared with 11% who did so this year. Data workloads are moving to the cloud even faster, with 27% saying that a public cloud (such as AWS or Azure) will be the primary environment for data processing, analytics and business intelligence, compared with 12% this year.