I got up early this morning for an invite only breakfast with WebSphere GM Craig Hayman.
Turns out IBM just acquired Cast Iron Systems. What’s the big idea?
Take companies onto the cloud. That’s right folks- its a cloud onboarding play. The firm has 75 employees, was founded 2001, and has a stellar list of partners… and adapters to integrate with them. Pretty much every SaaS company of note is on the roster. We’re not just talking Netsuite salesforce.com and RightNow technologies though- ADP is another example.
One interesting issue will be immediate contention with partners. When you see CA and BMC Remedy on a partner list and IBM is doing the acquiring you know that Switzerland is about to become a little less neutral.
One interesting element of the Cast Iron “cloud” play is that its OmniConnect is an on premise integration appliance. The software allows for drag and drop integration of on premise and cloud apps. So now IBM Software Group has another appliance play to join Datapower.
In fact as Hayman said:
“In the early days we said “jeez- you could do that with Datapower. But… they had specific application integration patterns for the space.”
In other words IBM acquired Cast Iron Systems to accelerate its own cloud play. IBM is being onboarded to the cloud as much as its customers are…
The case studies IBM talked this morning were pretty compelling.
Companies like ADP that normally take 4 months to bring a new customer onboard are now able to do it in a matter of weeks.
“The biggest issue is migration of data and so on. They said yeah we’ve heard it all before…. But they were “a little taken aback”. “you guys and your drag and drop technology are removing the effort of building code.”
Cast Iron’s CEO continued:
“Google is doing a lot [in terms of application capability]. Its great, but the data they need – for example in SAP, is held behind the firewall. So we help with integration of that data through Google App Engine.”
“You can’t have a SaaS app that talks to quick time to value, if it then needs three months to integrate…”
Cast Iron is available as an appliance, or cloud, by monthly charge. Its already available on the IBM product list.
One issue I keep hitting is that IBM doesn’t do enough to simplify operations. Hayman spoke directly to that.
“In terms of simplicity- you have beaten us up on that, and rightly so…”
Cast Iron generates adapters that run on existing integration tools such as WebSphere MQ, or JPA.
I think in summary that the play is really interesting. If we think of classic hub and spoke supply chains – the dominant companies always demand better integration with their suppliers. Cast Iron will be great for that.
IBM’s cloud play just got a boost with a very clear business message. Nice.
disclosure: IBM is a client. This is really a quick take. I came straight from the acquisition news into a keynote at IBM’s Impact conference. I guess I should start paying attention to Steve Mills…