Is Red Hat Shopping for a DevOps Acquisition?


The 451 Group has a new report out titled Data, systems management or devops likely to drive Red Hat’s next deal. I don’t have access to the report, but it seems pretty self-explanatory.

Nodeable SVP of Business Development and open source software pundit Matt Asay posted this excerpt on the Nodeable blog:

Given the prominence of Linux and open source software in cloud computing, systems management and ‘devops’ (where application development collides with application deployment via IT operations), Red Hat may add value or extend by scooping up one of many possible targets that fit with its existing technology and strategy. When considering devops providers – all of which are reinforcing our belief that devops practices that embody efficient use of cloud computing resources are moving to more mainstream, enterprise users – the server configuration and automation players sit at the crux of the trend.

Asay wrote: “DevOps is real, and it’s important to Red Hat…just like it should be to everyone else.”

Red Hat is cash flush and CEO Jim Whitehurst has said that it will be making more acquisitions. In October it purchased Gluster, and Whitehurst has hinted that Jaspersoft might be on its menu. Whitehurst has made comments about the possible acquisition of a big data and/or NoSQL related company before. But Red Hat seems particularly well suited for the DevOps world as it is familiar with both the development and operations world. VMware has already gotten into the DevOps tool market with a few new suites, so the time is ripe.

So if Red Hat did acquire a DevOps tooling provider, which one would it acquire? I’m sure 451 has some ideas, but again I don’t have access so I can only share my own thoughts.

Puppet Labs might seem like the most obvious target, but I think it’s on more of an IPO path. The company just landed a large round of funding (including funding from VMware) and isn’t in any hurry to be acquired. Opscode, which developers Chef, Puppet’s rival automation tool, is another possibility. At the moment Opscode is allied with Dell and VMware. Dell released an open source tool called Crowbar which is based on Chef. Opscode is a member of VMware’s Cloud Foundry project, and VMware developed a Cloud Foundry plugin for Crowbar.

Zenoss is a favorite among DevOps teams, so Zenoss Inc could be a possibility. We’ve also mentioned EnStratus as a possible acquisition target.

But looking to the obvious companies could put Red Hat in a bidding war with other acquisition hungry competitors like Citrix and VMware. Startups like Nodeable and Loggly are possibilities. Another possibility is the acquisition of a DevOps consulting company like DTO Solutions instead of a tool vendor.

One question to ask is what acquisition would compliment Red Hat’s OpenShift initiative? Eucalyptus comes to mind.