Ericsson has invested in another cloud startup, taking a majority stake of undisclosed value in platform-as-a-service (PaaS) developer Apcera, similar to the move two years ago when it invested in OpenStack specialist Mirantis.
The Apcera deal looks to be the next step in broadening and deepening Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s cloud play, giving the Swedish vendor an angle on policy-driven enterprise cloud management, security and application support beyond its OpenStack and infrastructure as a service efforts. Both enterprises and Ericsson service provider customers who serve enterprises should be interested, as they look to managing and supporting development for complex environments of both new and legacy applications. (See Ericsson Buys Majority Stake in Apcera and Ericsson Commits to OpenStack With Mirantis .)
Caroline Chappell, principal analyst for cloud and NFV at Heavy Reading, has been following the PaaS sector for a couple years, and says Ericsson just bought into a very hot market opportunity. "PaaS is key to capturing the next tranche of enterprise workloads -- typically legacy workloads -- that haven't yet migrated to more difficult to use infrastructure-as-a-service environments," she says, adding that PaaS also significantly provides agile operations support capabilities -- so-called "DevOps" -- that will be appealing to users looking to get more out of their clouds. (See Telcos Cautiously Consider Enterprise PaaS.)
"Ericsson's traditional customer base -- service providers -- are anxious to get up to speed on DevOps, both on the enterprise and NFV sides of the house, but Ericsson no doubt has other Internet of Things enterprise sectors in mind, too," Chappell says, such as automotive and healthcare sectors, where policy-driven PaaS offerings can be helpful in meeting compliance and safety needs.
Ericsson is not the only vendor giant making a PaaS (c'mon, you knew that was coming) at enterprise clouds and the ability of service providers to manage them. PaaS is part of CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL)'s Hyperscale cloud offering. It is also one element of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s Intercloud strategy, to which it has committed a billion-dollar investment, and is an ingredient in the enterprise strategies of IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ), among others. (See CenturyLink Cloud Goes Hyper and Cisco's Cloud Bet: What's in It for SPs?)
Ericsson and Apcera have a briefing set for Wednesday morning to further discuss the deal.
— Dan O'Shea, Managing Editor, Light Reading