Panic buying spree hits cloud integration

Panic buying spree hits cloud integration

Summary: Dell buying cloud integration vendor Boomi makes no sense to me. And it worries me, because there aren't that many pureplay vendors left out there and where are customers going to go when every cloud middleware vendor is a lock-in?


OK, I've read all the coverage of Dell's acquisition yesterday of cloud integration vendor Boomi. I'm really pleased for Bob, Rick and the team. They're great guys, it's a terrific company, and they've earned this [disclosure: earlier this year I wrote a Boomi product profile paid for by the vendor]. But Dell? I have two responses:

  • I don't get it.
  • It worries me.

I don't get it for the same reason it didn't quite work back at Dreamforce 2008 to have Michael Dell come out on stage to pitch his company's server products right after the usual extended Marc Benioff keynote telling the assembled masses why their companies don't need to buy servers any more. It just doesn't make sense. Is Dell going to bundle Boomi with its servers so the next on-premise app you install will integrate seamlessly to the cloud? That would be almost as absurd as imagining the consultants at Dell subsidiary Perot Systems are suddenly going to start recommending Boomi's low-cost cloud integration in preference to the lucrative middleware projects they currently spec out.

My fear is that Boomi is just going to disappear into Dell, never to be seen again, in much the same way that Dell's run of SaaS acquisitions in late 2007 and early 2008 pretty much disappeared off the radar screen. Maybe the full story of Dell's cloud ambitions is yet to be told, but for now it doesn't seem to add up.

And what worries me is that we're starting to see the beginnings of what you might call panic buying of cloud integration pureplays by vendors that want to make their mark in the cloud. First there was IBM buying Cast Iron a few months back, which at least had some visible logic to it. Now Boomi's gone and there aren't that many left in play.

When the shelves have been cleared of cloud integration vendors, where are customers going to shop for platform-neutral integration? Perhaps it's idealistic of me, but I have this notion that middleware works best if it has a Switzerland kind of role rather than being tied to specific platforms. Mary Jo Foley writes today that Microsoft is preparing its own integration play for Azure. Is platform or provider lock-in the future of cloud services integration? I can't see that's going to be good for customers or the industry.

Topic: Dell

Phil Wainewright

About Phil Wainewright

Since 1998, Phil Wainewright has been a thought leader in cloud computing as a blogger, analyst and consultant.

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  • RE: Panic buying spree hits cloud integration

    Not sure I agree. Dell's move could strengthen their server sales into both on-premise and managed hosting firm data centers. The better these two environments talk to each other, the better the hybrid clouds are that are created. Dell could be, over time, leveraging these cloud/SaaS acquisitions to encourage a pure Dell hybrid approach. An on-premise Dell "cloud" at home connected to a Dell-based cloud at an MSP/ASP sounds like it might be a pretty good plan.

    Mark (@cloudscapers on Twitter)
    • RE: Panic buying spree hits cloud integration

      @markaroosevelt <br>While I don't disagree with Mark's thoughts on Dell data centers, a "Cloud" is better defined as multi-tenent, scalable, and across many companies. While Dell no doubt has plans to connect homes to "the Cloud", Boomi's technology isn't a necessary component. B2B needs Integration technology and there are still a few independent Integration vendors out there; B2C seems adequately served by current WiFi and LAN/WAN connectivity.
  • RE: Panic buying spree hits cloud integration

    The acquisition also worries me. It seems the major desktop players are trying to do to the cloud what they did on the desktop. Pretty much dominate the entire market with a small oligarchy of big players that slow innovation and really don't compete with each other on technology, only somewhat on price and the competition on price isn't really strong enough to over come brand awareness (which is what everyone in the oligarchy wants).

    Look at desk top computing as a possible predictive model. You buy an i7 14 inch 8 Gig R.A.M. 500 Gig Harddrive system from any manufacturer you choose. You will pay from 1000 - 3000 for most systems depending on you customization. Nobody in the market has truly innovative hardware. Things like color choice, brand loyalty, and who has the best sale at the time you purchase are what really differentiate the companies in this market.

    Well, it looks like most of the same companies that turned the desktop market mediocre would like a stab at turning the "cloud computing" market mediocre.
  • RE: Panic buying spree hits cloud integration

    I can see where you're coming from, because my knee-jerk reaction to seeing the sale was "oh, there goes Boomi!". And it also hurts my head to think of Dell as a cloud services provider, that's just not the brand association, yet.

    But. Isn't Boomi still Boomi (provided Dell doesn't smother it as you said) and you'll buy SaaS Boomi without regard to any "platform". So while it's not independent it is surely irrelevant which "platform" it uses?

    In regard to Dell's current products I would have thought that @markaroosevelt is correct and it is all about getting into hybrid clouds, from all angles, as well as into enterprises to work on integration of their SaaS data.

    Which brings me to Perot. Perhaps you're right that Perot won't throw out a big services project for a simple one using Boomi. A lot of that depends on how they are compensated. But another angle is that they now have a tool to get them into many more accounts, at the pure SaaS integration end. From that they play the old game of "deepening" the relationship and eventually penetrating the IT group, and from there into hybrid QED.

    So Boomi has the potential to open up many new doors and deliver quick value and to build the relationship, laying the ground for the rest of the product line.

    Doesn't that make sense?