My colleagues and I just published our formal, consolidated Gartner response to the IBM acquisition of Cast Iron here (subscription required).
Relative to my original blog post on the Cast Iron acquisition its worth noting as we elaborate in the published research that I was mostly right — the most important aspect of this acquisition is the role that Cast Iron — and the Cast Iron Cloud2 in particular — will have on IBM’s emerging Cloud strategy. IBM plans to leverage the new elastic Cloud2 architecture in future Cloud offerings including integration as a service, PaaS and SaaS. We also believe it should have a future role in Cloud services brokerage.
In fairness though my colleagues and I were suitably impressed with the impact the acquisition will have on the appliance market. The acquisition makes IBM the largest provider of application infrastructure and middleware appliances, giving it a combined revenue for Cast Iron appliances and IBM DataPower appliances of nearly 75% of the $242.9 million market for application infrastructure and middleware appliances.
Nevertheless, consider my original position below in the context of yesterday’s IBM announcement that it is acquiring Sterling Commerce. IBM nearly simultaneously aquired a leading provider of integration as a service for Cloud services integration (Cast Iron) and for traditional ecommerce (Sterling Commerce). IBM can now offer a strong, hybrid Cloud + Ecommerce integration as a service offering. That would be compelling both as a stand-alone solution and as an enabler for PaaS, SaaS and Cloud services brokerage, in addition to enabling its Dynamic Business Network solutions.
There’s a lot of Devil in the Detail for IBM to sort out to pull all that together — the Sterling solutions aren’t Cloud native and the Cast Iron solutions aren’t strong in Ecommerce. But the combined potential is compelling. Of course the Sterling Commerce acquisition involves a lot more (integration, multi-enterprise Apps, ME-BPP, CSB, et al — Gene Alvarez just blogged on some of the Apps / Ecommerce considerations here), and my colleagues and I are now collaborating to sort all that out. Stay tuned. [ Hmmm... it occurs to me that by saying "stay tuned" I'm practicing a little hipocrasy relative to my recent blog post on obsolete "Save As" icons -- I mean, who really "stays tuned" anymore, except perhaps some of the good folks I know who are Hams ]
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