CloudBees Acquires Electric Cloud to Advance Continuous Delivery

CloudBees announced it has acquired Electric Cloud as part of an effort to extend the reach of its DevOps portfolio further into the realm of continuous delivery and application release automation (ARA).

Announced at the CloudBees Days event in San Francisco, the deal follows CloudBees’ acquisition of Codeship, a provider of a cloud-based continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) platform, last year.

CloudBees CEO Sacha Labourey said both deals are part of an effort to start rolling up many of the smaller companies providing DevOps tools that have not been able to achieve the critical mass required to operate at scale. As organizations of all sizes realize how much they depend on software to differentiate their company from competitors, he said, they are looking for a single vendor that can address all their requirements end to end. At the time of the acquisition, which closed earlier this month, Electric Cloud had 110 employees.

Labourey added the acquisition of Electric Cloud is also notable because it extends the reach of the CloudBees Jenkins and Jenkins X CI/CD platforms to the realm of application delivery for both legacy applications and emerging modern applications based on cloud-native microservices architectures.

While application development teams have largely embraced continuous integration, getting IT organizations to successfully implement continuous delivery has proven more challenging. The next phase of DevOps, Labourey said, will need to focus on applying machine learning algorithms to automatically discover the environment in which an application is to be deployed. Armed with those insights, it should be much easier for organizations to continuously deploy and update applications across diverse IT environments, he noted.

As DevOps continues to evolve, it’s apparent that legacy categories such as application release management are going to be subsumed into larger software development lifecycle frameworks based on best DevOps practices. The debate many organizations are currently engaged in is determining how much they need to change their IT culture before acquiring the tools and platforms required to successfully adopt DevOps. However, Labourery said this “chicken and egg” debate overlooks the importance of getting the tools to the teams that need to make the transition to DevOps occur. Otherwise, IT leaders will find themselves advocating for a theoretical cultural change without creating the opportunity for anyone to gain hands-on DevOps experience, he noted. In short, there’s no substitute for on-the-job DevOps training.

A consolidation of DevOps vendors is underway. In some cases, those acquisitions will be driven by leaders in a category, such as CloudBees. In other cases, providers of software development tools commonly used in legacy application environments will need to extend their reach further into the realm of DevOps. IT leaders, going forward, will need to consider carefully just how and where they want to place their bets, at a time when DevOps teams tend to add and discard DevOps tools, often with little to no regard for any larger IT strategy.