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Spot by NetApp absorbs Fylamynt for cloud automation

NetApp acquires Fylamynt, a CloudOps startup that could become the 'glue' for the Spot by NetApp portfolio, analysts say.

NetApp purchased startup Fylamynt late last month, adding new workflow automation capabilities to the cloud-focused Spot by NetApp portfolio.

Fylamynt's technology platform enables low-code or no-code workflow automation across products and services including those from AWS, Slack and GitHub. The platform includes incident response automation, application performance management and data governance among other capabilities. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Fylamynt added capabilities to unite the previously disparate products of the Spot by NetApp catalog, which the vendor has been adding to since it acquired Spot in 2020, according to said Marc Staimer, president of Dragon Slayer Consulting.

"[Spot by NetApp] all played in CloudOps; they just didn't play together," Staimer said. "[Fylamynt] makes it a real portfolio. This provides automation."

The Spot by NetApp umbrella includes products that support cloud operations or CloudOps, an extension of DevOps that focuses on cloud automation, performance and optimization. Most of the software, including the titular Spot, became part of NetApp through a series of acquisitions that started in 2020.

Other Spot by NetApp products include CloudCheckr, which monitors cloud costs and purchases, and the Ocean suite, which provides orchestration and provisioning for Kubernetes workloads.

All Spot by NetApp products require API coding to connect with one another and with other cloud services such as those sold by public cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft Azure, Staimer said.

"Customers don't want to do their own integration," he said. "They want automation, and that's what it comes down to. [NetApp] is selling the glue."

Customers don't want to do their own integration. They want automation and that's what it comes down to.
Marc StaimerPresident, Dragon Slayer Consulting

NetApp didn't provide a timeline for when Fylamynt technology would be integrated and sold with Spot by NetApp.

The APIs that bind

Enterprise IT teams may be able to boast a large headcount, but few have the coding expertise to tie disparate cloud and on-premises workloads together, said Jon Bock, vice president of marketing for Spot by NetApp.

Coders with that experience may also want to lighten their own workloads through no-code visual connections rather than diving into API code for each new service or workflow change.

"In the enterprise, [our customers] are saying they're looking for a vendor that can glue together all these operational needs," he said. "The number of people who can do coding with APIs at [their] company is limited."

The Spot by NetApp catalog primarily targets cloud developers who haven't cut their teeth on traditional data centers for their applications, Bock said, especially those developing container applications. 

NetApp's assumptions regarding CloudOps developer needs is accurate, according to Andrew Smith, a research manager with IDC.

"[Fylamynt] is a good tuck-in acquisition to Spot," Smith said. "In practice, Spot is all about automation, and Fylamynt adds this low-code, unified framework."

This potential newfound unity can also lower the barrier of complexity for both existing and potential enterprises, Staimer said.

"They were creating complexity even when they weren't trying to do it," he said.

Siloed storage

Fylamynt had yet to go to market before being acquired by NetApp, meaning direct comparisons of its technology to what more established companies offer are limited, analysts noted.

Despite the lack of public awareness of Fylamynt's capabilities, the acquisition is more about talent than tech, according to Dave Raffo, senior analyst at Evaluator Group.

"What NetApp is buying here is engineers and product managers," he said.

NetApp made its initial fortune on storage with its OnTap storage operating system for on-premises deployments but has continued to grow into the cloud file storage market. The company's most recent push includes the full managed AWS cloud file service FSx for NetApp OnTap.

Spot by NetApp, Raffo noted, is rapidly growing a collection of software and services for a new market divorced from NetApp's original storage buyers.

"It's like two completely different companies now," Raffo said. "They're putting together a package of all these DevOps tools. The question is, are they picking the right tools?"

NetApp's file services remain its most profitable cloud products, Smith said, but the vendor is working to create a new market for itself among CloudOps as migration to cloud services continues.

"The majority of what's generating revenue is their cloud [storage] volumes," Smith said. "Those are the bread-and-butter services within NetApp Cloud. They're building off that base of appealing to the IT buyer, but how do [they] attract dollars from the DevOps business unit?"

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living on the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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