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Microsoft has acquired a San Francisco-based startup in hopes of besting cloud competitors Amazon and Google, according to Wired. The San Francisco-based firm, called Deis, specializes in open-source container-based solutions designed to facilitate large-scale enterprise application design and deployment via the cloud. With this acquisition, Microsoft expands its cloud capabilities, bolstering its current product offerings with proven, cutting-edge networking innovations.

Moving Microsoft forward
This came as no surprise to those familiar with the Redmond, Washington-based technology giant. Since former CEO Steve Ballmer departed in 2014, the company has worked quickly to develop cloud and open-source solutions fit for enterprise and personal use. Many attribute this sudden shift to current CEO Satya Nadella, who eschewed his predecessor’s hardware-based research and development efforts for more experimental projects.

“Satya is like the Pope Francis of software,” Alex Polvi, founder and CEO for the Linux-centered software firm CoreOS, told Wired. “He took this old institution and made it cool again.”

Indeed, Deis’ central products line up with Nadella’s more modern organizational goals. The startup builds custom cloud solutions that build off the Google creation Kubernetes, an open-source platform for managing containerized data caches. These bundles of information can be easily shifted throughout networks, making them ideal for individuals or organizations with large-scale applications, or hefty file systems that may need to be migrated.

“Microsoft has acquired a San Francisco-based startup in hopes of besting cloud competitors.”

Catching up with containers, open-source technology
Microsoft currently offers limited container-based cloud services, while its competitors Amazon and Google boast more robust options. The latter lags behind Microsoft. But the former controls roughly 40 percent of the cloud market, according to CNBC. Why? Developers universally prefer Amazon Web Services due to its easy-to-deploy containers. This, combined with myriad open-source options available via AWS, has catalyzed wide adoption.

“With all of the open-source projects that are all the rage with developers, you have to have the offerings to cater to that if you want to attract them to your cloud,” John Vrionis, a partner with San Francisco venture capital firm Lightspeed Venture Partners, told the news organization. “If developers start in AWS and get comfortable, they’re not going to even think about Azure.”

Nadella and the Azure team hope to counter this norm by integrating Deis’ open-source products into the Microsoft catalog, according to a company press release.

“Members of the Deis team are strong supporters of the open source community – developing tools, contributing code and organizing developer meet-ups,” Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft’s cloud and enterprise division, wrote in the release. “We expect Deis’ technology to make it even easier for customers to work with our existing container portfolio including Linux and Windows Server Containers, Hyper-V Containers and Azure Container Service, no matter what tools they choose to use.”

Prior to the Deis acquisition, Microsoft purchased another startup called Databricks, which offers an enterprise version of the open-source Apache Spark platform, according to Venture Beat. It also signed on as a platinum member within the Linux Foundation, a shocking move for an organization that once vilified the operating system. Together, these moves signal an astronomical companywide shift toward developing technologies within the cloud space.

This opens up new opportunities for companies looking for future-proof cloud solutions and the support of an established technology provider with decades of experience.

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