Akamai Acquires Ondat for its Connected Cloud, Strengthening Cloud Computing Services Offering

By , Thursday, March 9th 2023

Categories: Analyst Blogs

Tags: Akamai, Akamai Connected Cloud, Akamai Ondat acquisition, cloud computing, Kubernetes, Ondat, storage,

The News: Akamai Technologies has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire container-native storage (CNS) startup Ondat to strengthen its cloud computing services. Read the Akamai press release here.

Akamai Acquires Ondat for its Connected Cloud, Strengthening Cloud Computing Services Offering

Analyst Take: Akamai’s move to acquire Ondat came just weeks after it launched Akamai Connected Cloud, a distributed platform for cloud computing, security, and content delivery. The deal shows Akamai recognizes that storage is a key component of cloud computing and will play a role in Akamai’s services that enable developers to build, run, and secure workloads that connect their businesses and users.

The Akamai-Ondat deal is expected to close by the end of March. Until then, we don’t expect more information from Akamai about whether it will continue to sell Ondat’s CNS software as a separate product or only incorporate the technology into its cloud platform. Akamai did confirm Ondat’s employees will be offered jobs as part of its cloud computing business. That includes founder and CTO Alex Chircop, who played a major role in developing Ondat’s software.

Akamai Connected Cloud adds core and distributed sites on top of the underlying backbone that powers its edge network that spans more than 4,100 locations across 134 countries. Connected Cloud places compute, storage, database and other services closer to large population, industry, and IT centers.

The purchase price for the Akamai Ondat acquisition was not disclosed. Ondat, which started as StorageOS in 2015 and changed its name in 2021, raised a total of $20 million in funding. Ondat has focused on high performance business critical applications, reflecting its founders’ background in financial services firms. It includes data deduplication (on flash), compression, resiliency (replicates five copies between nodes in local cluster), thin provisioning and snapshots. It does not handle data backups, however, leaving that to partners. Last week Ondat launched a partnership with Catalogic, which said it would offer pre-tested bundles of CloudCasa backup with Ondat CNS at a 50% discount to customers of Pure Storage’s Portworx CNS. Catalogic and Ondat were looking to compete better with Portworx, which sells both primary and backup software for containers.

While we don’t know yet what the future is for Ondat as a standalone product, the Akamai Ondat deal continues a trend of CNS acquisitions. This was the sixth acquisition of a CNS product for primary storage in the past two and a half years.

Here is the timeline:
2020 — Pure Storage acquired Portworx for $370 million.
2020 — SUSE picked up Longhorn CNS as part of its Rancher acquisition
2021 — DataCore bought MayaData
2022 — Rakuten Symphony bought Robin.io
2022 — IBM acquired OpenShift Data Foundation (ODF) as part of its bringing Red Hat storage products under the IBM banner
2023 — Akamai Technologies acquires Ondat

Here is what the CNS landscape now looks like:
Pure sells Portworx PX-Enterprise and PX-Backup CNS
SUSE sells Longhorn as its distributed storage for Kubernetes
IBM has integrated ODF into IBM Storage Fusion software, and will sell ODF as a standalone product. Red Hat, a subsidiary of IBM, also sells ODF with its OpenShift container platform
DataCore is turning MayaData technology into an enterprise-grade CNS software called Bolt
Japanese telco Rakuten Symphony rebranded Robin Cloud Native Storage under its Symworld Cloud operating platform for telecom service providers
Akamai to incorporate Ondat storage into its Connected Cloud but it’s plans to sell it as a standalone product are not clear
A few startups, notably Diamanti and Ionir, remain

Unlike traditional storage systems that include container storage interface (CSI) drivers to work with Kubernetes, CNS products were built for portability and scaling demands of container-based applications.

How DX Initiatives Are Driving the Adoption of Kubernetes in the Enterprise

We did a survey in 2022 on how digital transformation initiatives have driven the adoption of Kubernetes in the enterprise as an operating environment beyond public clouds. Our survey included responses from over 14,000 enterprise customers in North America and Europe that spoke to trends, status, challenges they were facing, and a look ahead at future issues for customers who desired to take Kubernetes to full production in an enterprise environment.

In that research study we found most enterprises running Kubernetes use a public cloud for persistent storage for containers, and that they reported they are just as likely to use traditional storage systems with CSI drivers than dedicated CNS software. ODF, Portworx, and SUSE Longhorn combined for 48.2% of container storage adoption with the smaller players gaining little traction. If you want a deeper look, download the free report here:

Unlocking the Gate to Digital Transformation.

Looking Ahead for Akamai and Ondat

What Akamai does with Ondat may provide a window into the CNS market. The deal tells us that Akamai feels Ondat’s storage capabilities strengthen its cloud computing services. If the content delivery network specialist continues to sell Ondat as a standalone product, that would indicate it also sees CNS as a market worth pursuing. If not, Ondat will go away as a storage vendor and leave one less player in the CNS field. We expect Akamai will not continue with Ondat’s current product, and the CNS market will primarily come down to Pure’s Portworx and IBM’s ODF/Storage Fusion with SUSE selling Longhorn to its customers. Pure and IBM are large enough to wait for the CNS market to mature, while startups will have a hard time doing that.

More insights from Evaluator Group:

Container-native storage could have uptick in adoption, M&A in 2023

KubeCon 2022: Storage vendors jockey for position

Catalogic CloudCasa partners with Ondat to accelerate adoption of Kubernetes data protection

Disclosure: Evaluator Group, wholly owned by The Futurum Group, is a research and analyst firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.  Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually.

Forgot your password? Reset it here.