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Google buys Alooma to bolster its cloud data migration chops

Google Cloud will acquire Israeli startup Alooma in a bid to add to its data migration portfolio. The move follows last year's acquisition of cloud migration vendor Velostrata.

Google's acquisition of Israeli startup Alooma strengthens the cloud vendor's ability to pull diverse sets of information into its data warehouse services, but also pulls another multi-cloud-capable option off the table for customers.

Alooma's data pipeline service pools information from a wide variety of sources, from databases like SQL Server, Amazon Aurora, Google Cloud Spanner and Oracle, to enterprise applications such as Salesforce, Zendesk and Zuora. It then merges those data sets into data warehouse targets such as Google BigQuery, AWS Redshift and Snowflake for analysis. Support is in the works for Azure SQL Data Warehouse, MySQL and PostgreSQL, according to Alooma's website.

Given its value, some of those prebuilt integrations will likely survive the transition to Google Cloud's ownership. Google will support Alooma customers' use of the pipeline tool on other clouds, but plans to accept only new customers who want to migrate data to Google Cloud Platform (GCP), according to a Google spokesperson.

Indeed, Google's official blog post on the deal refers only to how Alooma can drive workloads to the likes of its Cloud Spanner and Bigtable services -- with no mention of competitors' cloud services. That's somewhat of a surprise, said Deepak Mohan, an analyst at IDC.

Deepak Mohan, IDCDeepak Mohan

"I'd have thought they'd keep the funnel open as wide as possible," Mohan said.

These acquisitions have become commonplace as the top cloud providers continue to fill out their capabilities. In January, AWS bought CloudEndure, a provider of workload migration, disaster recovery and backup services. GCP had offered CloudEndure's tools free of charge to its customers.

Last year, GCP bought Velostrata, another Israeli startup that specializes in cloud migration. But Velostrata's tools move VM-based databases and applications wholesale to the cloud, whereas Alooma's focus is to extract information from such target sources and into the cloud for analysis. GCP now has both arrows in its quiver.

Alooma's focus on ETL for data warehousing and analysis also aligns with where Google has seen traction in the enterprise, Mohan added.

We expect to see a lot of renewed interest in migration technology and migration service providers.
Dave Bartoletti analyst, Forrester Research

"All of this is in the context of legacy inertia," he said. "There are things cloud companies need to do to help customers make the transition."

Google has vast engineering resources but obviously decided that speed was of the essence in terms of its Alooma acquisition.

"When you think of this market and how quickly cloud providers are fighting for market and mindshare among buyers, a year is too long to wait," Mohan said.

Terms of the Alooma purchase, which is subject to closing conditions, were not disclosed. The company had received $15 million in venture capital, according to Crunchbase, which suggests a possibly modest price tag. Israeli business publication Globes placed the cost at $100 to $150 million, although it cited only "market sources."

More Google cloud deals coming?

While not a blockbuster in terms of value, the Alooma purchase reinforces widespread speculation that Google Cloud will ramp up acquisitions under the leadership of recently appointed CEO Thomas Kurian, a former top Oracle executive.

Dave Bartoletti, ForresterDave Bartoletti

The Alooma purchase also symbolizes a bigger trend in the cloud market, said Dave Bartoletti, an analyst at Forrester Research. This year we'll see a big uptick in enterprise cloud adoption as companies focus on modernizing their existing portfolios of core applications, he said.

The first step in every enterprise app modernization effort is to decide what -- if anything -- to move to public cloud and what should remain in a corporate data center. "We expect to see a lot of renewed interest in migration technology and migration service providers," Bartoletti said.

With Alooma and Velostrata, Google has built out faster and easier ways for enterprises to move both data and virtualized apps to Google Cloud to kick start those important traditional app modernization efforts, he said.

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