Microsoft has acquired Citus Data, which offers open source software that transforms PostgreSQL into a distributed database that's highly scalable as a public cloud service. The move has potential implications for MSPs that offer managed database services across Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS) & Oracle Cloud. Here's why.
Microsoft already has extensive experience in this particular market, having launched a managed database service for PostgreSQL on Azure in March 2018.
So what does Microsoft gain by acquiring Citus Data? Rohan Kumar, corporate vice president for Azure data, puts it this way:
"Together, Microsoft and Citus Data will further unlock the power of data, enabling customers to scale complex multi-tenant SaaS applications and accelerate the time to insight with real-time analytics over billions of rows, all with the familiar PostgreSQL tools developers know and love."
In some ways, Microsoft is countering Amazon Aurora, a fast-growing database for Amazon Web Services. That Amazon effort includes Aurora PostgreSQL -- a fully managed, PostgreSQL-compatible, and ACID-compliant relational database engine.
Cloud Database Competition: Multiple Managed Service Options
Still, the Microsoft vs. Amazon cloud database battle extends across numerous offerings. In Microsoft's case, the Azure database lineup includes managed cloud services for
- SQL Server on Windows and Linus;
- support for analytics with the Spark and Hadoop ecosystems;
- and more.
In Amazon's case, the lineup includes:
- Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS);
- Amazon Aurora, a MySQL-compatible relational database;
- Amazon DynamoDB, a NoSQL database service;
- Amazon Redshift, a petabyte-scale data warehouse service; and
- Amazon Elasticache, an in-memory cache service with support for Memcached and Redis.
Microsoft Azure, AWS Target Oracle Database
In addition to competing head-on against each other, Microsoft and Amazon also are taking aim at Oracle's massive installed base of on-premises databases -- particularly within global 2000 customer settings. With that target in mind, Amazon aggressively promotes the AWS Database Migration Service.
Oracle's cloud business is growing -- though not as quickly as larger cloud rivals AWS and Azure. It's a safe bet plenty of global 2000 customers want to mix and match their on-premises Oracle instances with Oracle Database on Oracle Cloud. but that cloud inflection point also means some of those customers are willing to consider third-party alternatives.
Microsoft, now armed with Citus Data, is counting on exactly that.
Managed Cloud Databases: Where Partners, MSPs Fit In
On the one hand, cloud providers are wrapping more and more managed services around subscription database services. But on the other hand, there's still room in the market for MSPs.
Amid that reality, IT consulting companies and private equity firms have been acquiring MSPs that have managed database expertise. Key examples include:
- May 2018: Microsoft SQL Server database partner SentryOne acquired Pragmatic Works Software (PWS).
- April 2018: Private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP) acquired Remote DBA Experts (RDX), an MSP that provides remote database administration (DBA) and cloud managed services.
- November 2017: NTT Communications acquired Secure-24 Intermediate Holdings, a U.S.-based MSP focused on hosted Oracle, SAP and Microsoft solutions.
- October 2016: TriCore Solutions acquired Database Specialists, a managed services provider focused on Oracle database customers.
Amid Microsoft's deeper push into PostgreSQL technology, it's a safe bet some MSPs will take a closer look at managed cloud database services in exactly that area.