Talend acquires SOA vendor Sopera

The acquisition gives Talend a bigger play in middleware

Open-source data integration vendor Talend is expanding its footprint into SOA (service-oriented architecture), announcing Wednesday that it has purchased Sopera, developer of an open-source ESB (enterprise service bus) and other technologies. Terms were not disclosed.

Sopera began as an internal project by logistics company Deutsche Post, and was later spun out into its own company. It now has roughly 60 clients, including Deutsche Post itself, said Yves de Montcheuil, Talend's vice president of marketing.

SOA, which has faded as a buzzword in recent years, refers to a systems design approach where applications are composed of various and sometimes shared "services," such as a customer credit check routine. The goal is better interoperability and reuse of code.

Sopera, based in Bonn, Germany, offers an ESB for orchestrating services, as well as an array of SOA development, testing, management and monitoring capabilities.

However, "SOA is a broadly used term that can mean many things and nothing at the same time," de Montcheuil said, alluding to the once-rampant conflation and confusion it once suffered in the IT world. Therefore, Talend will position Sopera's technologies under the more concrete header of application integration.

Talend, which is based in Suresnes, France, moved to purchase Sopera because it sees a growing convergence between the data integration and application integration markets, particularly as companies' IT environments span private and public cloud infrastructures, said CEO Bertrand Diard.

The company intends to provide a road map for the integration of Sopera's products within 30 days. Its staff will be retained and Talend will also be hiring aggressively in both sales and services for Sopera.

Sopera's addition will give Talend a fatter stack of middleware technologies. But can a company that is arguably still in startup mode convince large enterprises to broadly adopt them, given uncertainties raised by the fact Talend could be acquired?

While acknowledging that Talend, like every vendor, is a potential acquisition target, it is "no longer in a mode where long-term viability is questionable," de Montcheuil said. Also Wednesday, Talend announced it has closed a US$34 million funding round led by Silver Lake Sumeru.

In addition, many CIOs believe in building out their stacks with best-of-breed technologies, not a complete platform from the likes of Oracle or IBM, he added.

Meanwhile, Talend is wise to downplay connections between Sopera and SOA in the classical sense, according to Ronald Schmelzer, managing partner of the analyst firm ZapThink.

"SOA is around but invisible," he said via e-mail. "[It] moved from a thing you buy to a thing you do. The low-level IT folks are doing it, but using what they have from a technology perspective. This is a somewhat good message for legacy incumbents but not a good one for new entrants."

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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