News: VMware Acquires Continuent

Yesterday (October 29, 2014), VMware completed the acquisition of Continuent, a San Jose–based software developer that specializes in the development of a database clustering and replication product that enables enterprises to run business-critical applications on cost-effective, open-source software. This is a new offering within VMware’s Hybrid Cloud Business Unit. 

Continuent’s key product is its Tungsten Replicator. This is one of the core components of its Database as a Service solution, Continuent Tungsten. Apart from its Database as a Service, it offers zero downtime, automatic failover, DR, load balancing, and, more interestingly, Oracle replication (Oracle to MySQL, MySQL to Oracle, and Oracle to Oracle) and replication in real-time into Hadoop, MongoDB, and Vertica from your RDBMS.

Now, this is no Nicira purchase. Continuent is a going concern handling billions of transactions per day. Current customers include eBay, AstraZeneca, American Express, Thomson Reuters, AT&T, and Groupon; these are not tiny operations.

Chris Schneider, a database architect for Groupon, stated, “With Tungsten Replicator we can quickly and flexibly move data out of operational databases into Hadoop where we run analytics that answer important business questions on timelines matching the needs of our users.”

This acquisition is good news for VMware, but also for Continuent customers. During a period of acquisition, an acquired company’s current customer base often feels nervous about what will happen to its support or its investment. Many an acquisition has resulted in a product’s being “killed off” in favour of the acquiring company’s incumbent application. Continuent’s customers need not worry, as VMware has committed to continuing to provide Continuent Tungsten as a product. Moving forward, VMware has stated that the technology will be integrated within vCloud Air (VMware’s hybrid cloud offering). Personally, I hope that this will not be the end of the integrations. I would love to see it utilized as part of a distributed database for a next-generation vCenter or SRM, or for any of the other DB-based products.

I like the ability to scale and provide high availability; this resonates with me.  When you add to that the DR functionality and multimaster, multisite capability across data centers and even clouds, this becomes a telling acquisition. I think that it has a key future in VMware’s hybrid strategy.

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