Highlight Report

IBM buys BoxBoat: Boosts Kubernetes, DevOps capabilities for its Hybrid Cloud customers

July 19, 2021

IBM is acquiring advisory services firm BoxBoat to fuel “code in the cloud” services. For an undisclosed sum, IBM’s Global Business Services team adds the US-based company’s 40+ engineers, a stable of customers, and experience in Open Source, multi-cloud Kubernetes, and application containerization to its business. This acquisition continues to highlight a year when many services providers are looking externally for boutique firms to bolster talent and offerings aggressively.

IBM is building talent and capabilities to drive its multi-vendor, hybrid cloud offerings

The acquisition fits nicely with the integration of Taos and Nordcloud in the firm’s Global Business Services team. Furthermore, the addition of BoxBoat highlights IBM’s desire to infuse a new digital culture by adding talent which comes from a background of Open Source and multi-vendor. While RedHat is the most well-known example of IBM embracing open innovation, this acquisition further exemplifies CEO Arvind Krishna’s prioritization of cultural evolution inside IBM needed to become a cloud-centric, multi-platform, ecosystem-oriented leader of Hybrid Cloud and Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions.

An exciting aspect of BoxBoat is its experience in developing containerization solutions for security and compliance solutions. These skills will be an asset for the modernization of applications for companies in regulated industries. These new assets may also bolster an earlier acquisition of StackRox by Red Hat, which also brought Kubernetes and container skills for security application DevSecOps into the fold. An example of an immediate scenario that may benefit from these transactions is IBM’s recent announcement with EY around their joint commitment to accelerate financial services transformation.

Customers seeking multi-cloud Kubernetes, Containers, and Open Source solutions have more reasons to consider IBM

BoxBoat brings skills for multiple types of Kubernetes (K8S), Open-Source application development, microservices, and containerization from a customer’s perspective. As Kubernetes is the glue for modern corporate DevOps and BoxBoat’s experience in EKS, Suse’s Rancher and Red Hat OpenShift (RHOS) compliments IBM’s multi-vendor cloud services approach. While customers using Rancher or EKS can expect ongoing support, it’s fair to expect the writing is on the wall that BoxBoat will be prioritizing on RHOS for future deals.

As the demand for application modernization continues to heat up, IBM is willing and eager to add outside talent and solution development skills. Additionally, with the market for these Cloud Native DevOps skills becoming increasingly competitive, both services providers and customers are challenged to recruit, train, and retain talent. Thus, in many cases, technology leaders seek a healthy number of their teams to become full-stack developers. With Taos, NordCloud, and BoxBoat under the Big Blue umbrella, the GBS team is well-positioned to co-create and offer full-stack training for their customers.

IBM will add BoxBoat’s “code in the cloud” to support cloud native software development efforts. BoxBoat’s offerings add Ansible, Terraform, Rancher, and more to deploy technologies like Docker with Kubernetes. In addition, these offerings add services breadth to the IBM GBS team’s established offerings for integration, hosting, hybrid-cloud orchestration, thus adding scale and more solution choice for its customers’ cloud journey.

The Bottom Line: As containerization and K8S are crucial to modern DevOps, BoxBoat’s team will be a healthy addition to existing IBM teams, partnerships, and ongoing merger and acquisition activities.

With many firms accelerating their “code in the Cloud” efforts, IBM is doing its part to ensure it offers a compelling option of technologies, skills, and partnerships to meet digitally native needs. BoxBoat’s security and compliance expertise is a nice win and clear differentiator.

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