Talend Takes It Up a Notch with Sopera Acquisition
November 16, 2010 Alex Woodie
Talend, a developer of open source data management and ETL tools that support IBM i and most other platforms, last week announced the acquisition of Sopera, a German developer of open source application integration. The acquisition–paid through $34 million in new venture capital led by the renowned Silver Lake firm–indicates an aggressive new push on the part of Talend to build out a comprehensive suite of commercial open source middleware.
Soperas develops the Advanced Services Factory (ASF) suite, a collection of integration tools, including an enterprise service bus (ESB), Eclipse-based editors for designing and linking processes, and tools for monitoring how they’re running. Sopera ASF makes heavy use of Apache open source technologies, including ServiceMix, CXF, and ActiveMQ projects, and itself is the foundation for the Eclipse Swordfish SOA project.
Sopera traces its roots in Bonn, Germany, to 2007, when the €46 billion logistics company Deutsch Post decided to spin off its service oriented architecture (SOA) development project and offer it under open source. Today, its software has been downloaded about 100,000 times, and the company has about 60 paying customers.
Sopera is on the verge of much faster growth, say executives at Talend, who have been following Sopera since at least January 2009, when the two companies entered into an OEM relationship. Evidentially, Talend was so impressed with Sopera’s prospects and the similarities of its products to Talend’s own ETL and master data management (MDM) tools that it decided to buy the company and integrate the two sets of products into one stack.
Although data integration and application integration have been treated as separate IT disciplines, there are a lot of similarities between them, and a good argument can be made for combining them, Talend executives say. “We’re entering a space that’s pretty close to where we are today. There are similar types of issues,” says Yves de Montcheuil, vice president of marketing for Talend.
When the integration work is complete, Talend customers will be able to access the Sopera tools from the same GUIs that are used for the Talend data integration technology. In the end, it will be much easier for customers to access sophisticated application integration capabilities, de Montcheuil says. “We are clearly set to make ESB more usable by the general enterprise, without requiring deep expertise in Java development, as is needed today,” he says. “We’re going to democratize the market and bring application integration technology to industries that are not necessary primary targets for those technologies, but who need it just as any other organization.”
With the purchase, Talend has set its sites on the leading developers of proprietary ESBs and application integration suites, including Progress Software, Software AG (webMethods), and TIBCO. Talend views the solutions from these vendors as being too complicated, too expensive, and too cumbersome to use.
It is a similar refrain that Talend has used in its work with data integration, which has been successful (to the tune of 10 million downloads and more than 1,500 paying customers). Only time will tell if Talend will be as successful in the very hairy world of SOA, message queues, Web services, and related application integration technologies. One thing is for certain: Talend is setting its sights high, and it has some pretty solid backing in the likes of Silver Lake Sumeru, the division of the well-known venture capital group (Silver Lake owns a big chunk of Skype) that deals in mid-market ventures.
Terms of the acquisition, which is a done deal, were not disclosed. But it is a safe bet that a sizable percentage of the $34 million in venture capital that the Los Altos, California, company raised will go to purchase Sopera. The rest of the money will go to integrating Sopera’s software with Talend’s ETL and MDM software, and future undisclosed moves, says Talend CEO and co-founder Bertrand Diard.
“We are planning to take the company to the next stage, and to continue to expand and grow beyond this acquisition … to create a global leader in open source middleware,” Diard tells IT Jungle.