Those of us in the industry who have been around the block somewhat, shall we say, and worked in end user compute when it was still called terminal services will remember when there seemed to be only two players in the game: Microsoft and Citrix. Then, along came this little upstart from Pennsylvania called IndependenceIT. It shouted loud and proud about breaking free from the shackles of corporate bondage in the form of what was then called Presentation Server. However, it never really managed to break out. It underwent three VC fundraising rounds—the last one in 2016—for an undisclosed amount and pivoted from onsite endpoint management and desktop delivery to DaaS, workflow, automation, and application delivery. To be fair, it was a logical step for it and allowed it to integrate into vCloud Air, Citrix’s Workspace Service, and Azure.
Alas, it never managed to get its fire truly burning. Now, the IndependenceIT story has ended with an acquisition by CloudJumper—no, not Cloudjumper from How to Train Your Dragon. As an aside, I would recommend that CloudJumper change its name, take the IndependenceIT name, or even employ a better social media professional. This is the first page of my Google search for the company by its name; I almost missed it the first time.
CloudJumper is another WaaS (Workspace as a Service) provider that, coincidentally, utilises IndependenceIT’s product as part of its go-to-market offering. Thus, it could effectively be considered an OEM. It has been in business since 2016, when it was spun off from nGenx, a cloud application provider. What is interesting is that this announcement only confirms the acquisition of the remnants of IndependenceIT. It appears that the competitor that it acquired approximately a year ago was IndependenceIT. How, exactly, do you purchase a company twice? Simple: you acquire only a portion of the company. At the time of the first acquisition, IndependenceIT was refocusing to become a software-only company, so it sold its managed services division. This effectively grew CloudJumper’s cloud tenancy by approximately a thousand seats. At the time, some of IndependenceIT’s salespeople also moved to CloudJumper. When that strategy didn’t work, CloudJumper took over the rest of the company. In fact, at the time of the takeover, CloudJumper was IndependenceIT’s largest partner.
Interestingly, according to Max Pruger, CloudJumper’s chief sales officer, this deal has been over a year in the making not because one party was playing hardball, but rather due to market maturity.
I can go with this. The WaaS market has been a solution looking for a problem, with many small players, like VESK in the UK, which was acquired by Nasstar, and tuCloud, which provided secure Internet access to secure sites via DaaS devices. Only recently has the market started to gain traction, with both Amazon’s WorkSpaces product and Azure providing access to desktops provided by VMware Horizon View or Citrix XenDesktop.
WaaS only really makes sense at scale when when a company is mainly in the cloud or has a requirement for a rapid and elastic growth for a short-term burst: for example, when a retail company hosts its bump-up holiday sales staff. VDI and DaaS purists will be screaming at their monitors right now, saying “No, Tom, you’re wrong!”
I am not saying that DaaS or WaaS do not have a place. All I am saying is that it is not a panacea for all ills. It has a finite number of use cases. True, those use cases are growing as more legacy workloads are migrated to the the cloud. However, WaaS and its cousins DaaS and VDI are just halfway houses: point solutions until applications are migrated away from their legacy three-tiered format into a modern cloud-native application that is SaaS delivered.
That said, VDI, DaaS, and WaaS are here for the long run. CloudJumper is in a good position to gain some traction, but I hope it will consider a name change.