Magento, the ecommerce platform owned by eBay that is at the center of several recent major partnerships and endorsements, is enjoying success. And that success could have a far-reaching impact beyond Magento's immediate niche by influencing the future of open source, the cloud and integrated hosting solutions.
Magento has been around since 2008, when it was first released as an open-source Web application for ecommerce. eBay acquired it in 2011, when it became part of the company's X.commerce program, but Magento remains open source and enjoys massive popularity, boasting adoption by more than 150,000 organizations.
This month, within the space of barely a week, Magento announced two significant partnerships: One with Rackspace to deliver integrated Magento hosting solutions in the cloud, and the other with AdRoll, which will offer advertising services to Magento users. Meanwhile, a new startup, Herculo, made a bet that Magento's popularity will continue to explode by dedicating an entire hosting platform to it.
It's obvious why these developments, and Magento's momentum as a whole, are important for the players immediately involved. But they also signal key trends within the channel more broadly, in several areas.
First, as an open-source platform, Magento is contributing to the centrality of open-source solutions within the Big Data, cloud and hosting markets. It is doing for ecommerce -- a massively important niche -- what Hadoop and OpenStack are achieving elsewhere, ensuring that open source will remain a safe bet for VARs.
Second, Magento's popularity as an ecommerce platform among small vendors promises to drive continued demand for integrated hosting solutions -- like the kind Rackspace and Herculo recently announced -- within the cloud. Magento is not entirely point-and-click. It requires a bit of technical expertise to deploy effectively. Because of this, hosting providers who not only provide the infrastructure for deploying Magento, but also make it simple enough for small vendors without large IT staffs to use, will become increasingly important within the ecommerce world. And in so doing, they will help feed the trend toward managed hosting.
Finally, for emcommerce itself, the convergence of the channel around Magento is making small, independent operations easier than ever. That will matter for larger online retailers, for whom diversifying beyond retail-proper -- à la Amazon Web Services -- is becoming more and more important. And for smaller vendors, emerging Magento solutions promise to make business easier than ever.