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At the end of 2015, and quite discreetly, Oracle acquired StackEngine, a Docker management and monitoring platform provider. This is a good move for both companies.

Containers are coming and Oracle needed to jump on the bandwagon

StackEngine is part of a wave of start-ups that aim to become "the VMware of containers." The company positions its StackEngine Container Application Center (CAC) as a tool that enables IT operations to manage in production what developers have created. CAC offers container discovery, dependency analysis, configuration, change management, orchestration, and performance troubleshooting, among other things.

In October 2014, StackEngine announced the forthcoming private beta release of CAC and $1m funding in seed capital. CAC came out of beta in June 2015. Although the company has managed to raise $4.5m since its launch, its size does not seem to have increased as quickly as it originally planned. Considering the number of competitors, and the fact that Docker adoption in production in the enterprise is not growing as rapidly as claimed by many, the acquisition is a good outcome for StackEngine.

Oracle bought StackEngine as much for its skills as for its technology. Considering that all of its main cloud competitors – Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, Google, and VMware itself – have all either released or announced Docker-centric offerings, it was just a matter of time before Oracle caught up. It had already made a number of container-centric announcements in 2015, such as support for Docker in Solaris in July 2015, but the StackEngine acquisition is a more substantial move. Oracle needs to clarify how it will weave the StackEngine technology into its current portfolio of cloud services. The fact that StackEngine is based in Austin, Texas will also help build momentum around the cloud campus that Oracle has announced in that same location. In addition, both StackEngine and the campus will help Oracle reach out to start-ups, a constituency that the company's cloud competitors currently target more vigorously than Oracle.


Further reading

Cloud Strategy Snapshot: Oracle, TE0005-000763 (December 2015)

2016 Trends to Watch: Software Development and Lifecycle Management, IT0022-000534 (November 2015)

Oracle’s Public Cloud Portfolio Expansion: Nearly Complete, IT0022-000505 (September 2015)

Oracle's Cloud Transformation: Ongoing, Successful, Challenging, IT0022-000470 (September 2015)

2015 Fundamentals of Hybrid Cloud and Virtualization Management, IT0022-000338 (May 2015)

"ClusterHQ’s Flocker will boost Docker momentum," IT0022-000168 (October 2014)


Laurent Lachal, Senior Analyst, Ovum Software

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