Yesterday, NetApp announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Spot. While acquisitions are difficult to evaluate since the hard work really doesn’t begin until after the integration work is complete, I am finding it difficult to contain my excitement.
Spot is one of the more interesting young innovators in IT and its technology addresses a massive need in the industry. The firm has several different offerings but, in essence, Spot’s technology is about enabling its customers to achieve an application-driven infrastructure, where the technology provides tools that understand workload patterns, then provide visibility into those patterns, enabling more efficient use of infrastructure and automation. Spot understands how your applications leverage infrastructure including public cloud infrastructure, so you don’t have to.
Why makes Spot’s technology so interesting?
The rise of the digital era has fundamentally altered the complexity level of delivering efficient IT services. Consider that a recent ESG research study has found that organizations with mature digital transformation initiatives are three times likelier than those with no digital transformation initiatives to say IT is significantly more complex today than it was just two years ago.
What is behind this? Digital businesses are operating at a whole new level of technology scale and diversity.
- Applications are becoming more diverse with the rise of DevOps environments and the increase in cloud-native workloads.
- IT infrastructure has quickly evolved from a data center-centric three tier (server, network, storage) architecture to a diverse multi-cloud environment supporting multiple disaggregated architectures spanning large distances and often reaching into multiple edge environments.
- Application responsibility has also become fragmented. IT is no longer the lone voice in decision making. Developer and line of business teams not only have a voice but more often are becoming the decision maker.
The impact of these three forces is that it is not only exponentially more difficult to understand how to best optimize the infrastructure for the application environment, but that there are also exponentially more people that need that knowledge. And assuming you know the right answer, and could communicate it everywhere, it will be outdated in a few short months’ time.
In other words, relying on deep tribal knowledge located in the brains of smart IT professionals is no longer good enough. We need technology that can understand the application environment in real time and empower the entire organization with a consistent single voice of truth on what their applications need and what is the best environment for them. Given the current state of the world right now, no one has extra money or people to waste on manually figuring all this stuff out.
The bottom line is Spot solves a key need. I like the move for NetApp, but the responsibility will fall on the newly integrated organizations to maximize the potential of the two technologies together.