Google this week acquired Orbitera, which specializes in enabling software sales over the cloud. It's an acquisition with broader implications than first impressions might suggest.
On the surface, it's a niche service, with appeal only to software developers. But there's more to it than meets the eye. In the words of Nan Boden, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s head of global technology partners, writing on the Google Cloud Platform blog Monday to announce the acquisition: "Orbitera provides a commerce platform that makes buying and selling software in the cloud simple, seamless, and scalable for all kinds of businesses, including independent software vendors, service providers and IT channel organizations."
Translation: It's not just for application developers. Orbitera makes it easier for service providers and enterprise IT managers to license and deploy apps for their users, both within their own companies and to customers and business partners. It's a platform for third-party apps and enterprises' and service providers' own homegrown software.
The acquisition -- the terms of which were not disclosed -- is designed to beef up Google's strategy to help enterprises support multiple clouds.
"At Google, we partner closely with our enterprise customers and software providers to ensure their transition to the cloud is as simple and seamless as possible," Boden says. "We recognize that both enterprise customers and ISVs want to be able to use more than one cloud provider and have a way to conduct product trials and proofs of concept before building a full production deployment, all using their trusted SIs [system integrators], resellers and normal sales cycles."
From its founding five years ago, Orbitera's "mission was to enable frictionless sales of cloud-based enterprise software and services," according to a statement on the Orbitera website signed by the company's management team -- CEO Marcin Kurk, who formerly was head of business development at Google competitor Amazon Web Services Inc. ; co-founder and chief architect Firas Bushnaq, who is a self-described "serial entrepreneur" currently connected with a half-dozen companies; and co-founder and COO Brian Singer, who has a cloud and networking background that includes BMC Software and Novell.
Google's "multi-cloud strategy" is important to the company's mission to take leadership in the cloud market. For all Google's muscle, the company is an also-ran in the enterprise cloud, trailing behind Amazon Web Services, which is by far the leading vendor, and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Azure. (See Google: 'Dead Serious' About Enterprise Cloud.)
Amazon's strategy is to enable businesses to outsource their entire infrastructure to the cloud -- to AWS to be precise -- with AWS providing infrastructure and platform as a service. Amazon's vision of the future is that only a small fraction of companies will run their own IT infrastructure, with everybody else running on the cloud. Amazon's cloud.
Microsoft's strategy is to enable hybrid cloud. Enterprise apps will run applications both on-premises -- as they historically have always done -- and on the cloud. And those will be Microsoft apps, which run both on-premises and on the cloud, particularly Microsoft's own cloud.
Google's crystal ball sees a multi-cloud future, with enterprises apps running on private clouds, and clouds from multiple vendors, all sewn together with the Google Cloud Platform. And Orbitera is a main thread tying it all together.
— Mitch Wagner, , Editor, Light Reading Enterprise Cloud