The 8 main cloud computing acquisitions of 2021

The pandemic has fostered advances in cloud-based interactions and collaborations, paving the way for a post-pandemic hybrid workforce. In this context, the industry experienced significant growth in 2021 with many solid acquisitions. Let’s take a look at a few:

1. Okta acquires Auth0

Okta and Auth0 are the heavyweights in the identity and access management (IAM) sphere. They both sell identity authentication software but with different approaches. Okta’s product focuses on the identity of the workforce and serves businesses and their workforce. Auth0’s product is consumer-centric and serves developers and end users. As a unified entity, they leverage their individual experiences in corporate and developer communities to create an independent, unified platform that can provide secure access to customers as well as employees. Okta first approached Auth0 in 2013 for a partnership. After eight years, the court finally came to a $ 6.5 billion deal where Auth0 operates as an independent business unit within Okta.

Okta did well in the corporate market with its single sign-on and easy employee logins. However, it had to expand into developer-friendly markets and customer connection to compete with Microsoft’s rapidly growing Azure and associated identity-driven products. Now, Okta and Auth0 bring together the best of both worlds: Okta’s core identity and Auth0’s developer-centric offerings. Their comprehensive identity platforms solve all identity use cases, regardless of audience or user.

2. DigitalOcean acquires Nimbella

One of the leading cloud computing companies, DigitalOcean acquired a serverless platform provider, Nimbella in early September 2021. Nimbella builds on Kubernetes and Apache OpenWhisk and helps address the challenges developers face during the adoption of serverless computing. DigitalOcean is a cloud computing provider helping businesses grow by offering IAAS. The acquisition enables DigitalOcean to create a serverless platform that unlocks the capabilities of the cloud for all kinds of developers. It also allows them to build and scale their applications and APIs by removing operational complexities.

3. Microsoft acquires Nuance

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In early 2021, Microsoft acquired Nuance, the world’s largest voice technology company, for $ 19.7 billion. Nuance specializes in conversational AI and speech recognition technology. Microsoft’s health cloud provides automated workflows and detailed analysis of structured and unstructured data. As they merge, the health cloud retains all of its built-in capabilities and adds “natural language understanding and processing” to its armor. Nuance adds a layer of AI at the point of healthcare delivery by making the process of capturing clinical information more efficient and organized. This acquisition adds to the breadth and depth of Microsoft’s cloud-based intelligent services. These services enable better decision making, end-to-end security, next-generation customer engagement, and advanced security capabilities.

4. Cisco acquires Epsagon

Cisco acquired modern observability provider Epsagon in November 2021. The acquisition adds the ability to monitor container-based applications and a serverless computing framework to Cisco’s portfolio. Epsagon provides expertise as well as software for tracing solutions across microservices, container-based applications, kubernetes and serverless environments. It provides end-to-end payload visibility and observability in microservice environments. Cisco is a network solutions provider that manufactures and sells Internet Protocol products. Epsagon offers Cisco the ability to provide full observability to its customers.

5. NetApp acquires CloudCheckr

In late 2021, NetApp completed the acquisition of the leading cloud optimization platform CloudCheckr. Managing costs while accelerating cloud applications has become a major hurdle for organizations. CloudCheckr provides insight into reducing cloud costs and visibility, while maintaining security and compliance. When these new features are combined with NetApp’s cost optimization and automation services, organizations can better understand the benefits of the cloud at scale, and control and improve the use of their cloud resources. CloudCheckr also offers complete AWS cloud management on a single platform, as well as security monitoring across all AWS services. This acquisition will allow NetApp to help customers get more cloud at a lower cost.

6. IBM acquires Turbonomic

IBM is jumping on the observability train with its $ 2 billion acquisition of Turbonomic, a provider of network performance management (NPM) and application resource management (ARM) software. IBM provides its customers with AI-based automation capabilities and services that run anywhere, in any hybrid cloud environment. Turbonomic’s full stack visibility and other capabilities are merged with it to create a single vendor approach to AIOps and observability. The acquisition of Turbonomic comes after IBM’s recent acquisition of Instana, an observability startup. These two complementary acquisitions will provide IBM with complete application observability and ensure application performance and governance for any architecture and platform. Turbonomic’s NPM products will help IBM customers optimize their applications running in 5G environments.

7. Microsoft acquires Kinvolk

In an effort to build capacity in the Kubernetes space, Microsoft acquired Kinvolk, a six-year-old startup that develops cloud-based open source projects. Linux develops and distributes Flatcar Container Linux, which is a Linux distribution that helps make cloud containers like Kubernetes more platform resilient. The Microsoft ecosystem can benefit from Kinvolk’s Flatcar Container Linux, as it ensures that containers run in both cloud and on-premises environments. Kinvolk can further extend the capabilities of Azure’s hybrid container platform and increase Microsoft’s contribution to the container space. This acquisition is ideal for both parties. Kinvolk can continue to operate as an entity within the Microsoft ecosystem, and Microsoft can compete with AWS’s Bottlerocket container operating system and Google’s container-optimized operating system.

8. JFrog acquires Vdoo

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DevOps platform JFrog acquired cybersecurity company Vdoo in June 2021 for $ 300 million. Vdoo has an AI-based platform that detects software vulnerabilities by focusing on analyzing and securing applications in their production context. Jfrog provides cutting-edge security support to DevOps users. Their merger will help amplify JFrog’s security solution. It will provide a holistic process that effectively consolidates security data. It will also provide the highest integrity to end-to-end delivery systems for certified security versions. This acquisition is part of the shared vision of JFrog and Vdoo in terms of DevOps and security. They both believe that if a DevOps company isn’t also a security company, it only solves a small piece of the puzzle.


To accelerate application development cycles, organizations are embracing microservices and containerized components at scale. This leads to increased complexity involving multiple teams focused on optimizing and securing each digital experience. This has led organizations to scramble to integrate next-generation infrastructure solutions that best facilitate this process. In doing so, they must ensure that the onboarding process is transparent and leaves no security holes that can be exploited by cybercriminals. The number of mergers and acquisitions only seems to be increasing, with 2021 being a banner year for corporate acquisitions in the cloud computing space.

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Steven L. Nielsen