Summary:

If the third quarter represented anything, it was that M&A is alive and well, particularly in the Big Data space. If a company can store or analyze large amounts of data with any degree of innovation, a larger vendor is likely eyeing them for an acquisition.

If the third quarter represented anything, it was that IT M&A is alive and well, particularly in the Big Data space. As I highlight in my wrapup of the quarter’s news and trends, if a company can store or analyze large amounts of data with any degree of innovation, a larger vendor is eyeing them up for an acquisition — even if it means paying premium. 3PAR, Netezza, Greenplum, Storwize, Ocarina Networks and ParaScale all found new homes during the past few months, for instance.

Speaking of Big Data, we saw even more evidence that startups selling the tools of tomorrow (i.e., Hadoop and NoSQL) are in a good position to capitalize if they follow the right strategy. Cloudera continued to bolster its partner portfolio to ensure that it will be the platform layer for Hadoop as it increasingly sees adoption among enterprises. Provided Cloudera maintains a reputation of stability, it’s about the only vendor selling distributed data crunching until Microsoft rolls out its Dryad project commercially. For database startups pushing NoSQL, organizations appear willing to give them a chance, but they will need to address reputation issues stemming from a few high-profile failures.

Elsewhere in the sector, in the realm of public clouds, the quarter was marked by perpetual motion. Very few CIOs are still questioning the value proposition for cloud computing, so providers are pushing to differentiate themselves wherever possible. Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, Joyent, RightScale… everyone rolled out a variety of new features to make their respective offerings as palatable as possible to as many groups as possible. As the market shapes up, we see it will be a marathon, and providers that sat in the background early might end driving momentum in the future.

The internal cloud market was defined by attempts to peddle turnkey solutions addressing users’ needs around multi-tenancy, provisioning and self-service. VMware did it with vCenter Director, OpenStack did it with its collection of technologies, and a handful of startups did it with their own products. There are some disruptive options — none more so than OpenStack – but it will be a tall order for anyone to compete with VMware increasingly driving the cloud discussion.

We also learned the price the web companies must pay to deal with their success: millions in capital expenditures to meet current and future demand. With Amazon, Google, Facebook and Twitter all significantly upping their infrastructure investments, it will be interesting to see what services they roll out next.

For a full recap and analysis of the news and trends that defined the past quarter, read the entire report here.

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