IBM buys NoSQL cloud provider Cloudant

IBM's Cloudant purchase will bring the CouchDB NoSQL database into IBM's SoftLayer global cloud

Adding more muscle to its cloud operations portfolio, IBM is acquiring hosted NoSQL database provider Cloudant.

Based in Boston, the privately held Cloudant offers a hosted version of the Apache CouchDB open source data store. Its own version, called BigCouch, can be run across multiple servers, providing a way to build and maintain an extremely large and fast data store for a front-end application.

Companies in the fields of gaming, services, manufacturing, online education, retail and health care have all used the Cloudant service.

IBM plans to use BigCouch service for its big data and analytics products and services. The company will also incorporate the service in its MobileFirst portfolio of tools for developing mobile applications.

Developed in 2005 by former Lotus Notes developer Damien Katz, CouchDB received financial support for further development from IBM, and in 2008, the open source software project was adopted as a top level project by the Apache Software Foundation.

CouchDB stores data in JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) format, which provided developers with an easier to use alternative to XML for serializing data so it can be sent across a network.

CouchDB also has features that make it suitable for scaling up to large workloads. Those include a multi-master replication system that minimizes deadlocks and can balance work loads across servers. For developers, it offers an API (application programming interface) based on the widely known REST (Representational State Transfer) architecture.

Cloudant already runs its services on IBM's SoftLayer global cloud platform. IBM purchased SoftLayer in September for US$1.2 billion and has since committed an additional $1.2 billion to upgrade the system to include 40 data centers around the world.

IBM plans to move many of its software products and all of its cloud services to SoftLayer, the company announced Monday, at its annual Pulse conference being held in Las Vegas.

IBM plans to complete the Cloudant acquisition by the end of April. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

When the sale is finalized, Cloudant will become part of IBM's newly formed Information and Analytics Group, a business unit within the IBM Software and Systems Group headed by IBM Senior Vice President Bob Picciano.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
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