Here's what the deal can mean for new opportunities in the channel.

Todd R. Weiss

January 25, 2019

4 Min Read
Mergers and acquisitions
“Doing your pre-merger due diligence is essential, but we have learned, at times the hard way, that this due diligence shouldn’t just be from a financial standpoint. Getting a full understanding of the way the incoming organization functions from a process, policies and a personal, human component (or ‘HR factor,’ as we’ve come to call it), is key. As the company doing the acquisition, you want to take your time in getting to know the organization you’ve acquired and fully understand the way that they were doing things, presumably successfully, before you came into the picture. Remember that if they were profitable before you merge, they should remain profitable afterward, so you do have some time on your side to cement the courtship before bringing things under one roof.  You need to take your time with that HR factor in an acquisition, but not from a branding perspective. We once learned in an early acquisition, and learned the hard way, that corporate communication, both internal and external, needs to have a set ‘go-live’ date and plan in place well before the transaction.  On that date, you need to have all your ducks in a row so that your two teams coming together as one know exactly what they need to about the company as a whole, its vision, and how the brand is going to go to market in the future. If you let both brands co-exist separately, it will only make ripping the Band-Aid off later more difficult, more time-consuming and more costly as the departing brand becomes more and more embedded.” —Aaron Bradley, VP of marketing, CareWorxShutterstock

For Microsoft channel partners that help customers with critical business databases, the company’s acquisition of Citus Data could provide a boost for their business.

That was the reaction of several IT analysts who spoke with Channel Futures about the acquisition, which was announced Thursday. Microsoft is buying Citus for an undisclosed amount to strengthen and scale the software giant’s capabilities in high-performance PostgreSQL databases for businesses from small to large.

“Citus is an innovative open-source extension to PostgreSQL that transforms PostgreSQL into a distributed database, dramatically increasing performance and scale for application developers,” wrote Rohan Kumar, corporate vice president for Microsoft Azure Data, on the official Microsoft blog. “Because Citus is an extension to open source PostgreSQL, it gives enterprises the performance advantages of a horizontally scalable database while staying current with all the latest innovations in PostgreSQL.”

Dan Olds, principal analyst for Gabriel Consulting Group, told Channel Futures that the acquisition of Citus Data should expand Microsoft’s capabilities for helping customers deploy highly-scalable Postgres databases.


Gabriel Consulting’s Dan Olds

“Of all the major databases out there, Postgres is the one that is the most compatible and has the most tools to convert users away from Oracle,” which Microsoft would love to see happen, said Olds.

“That’s also something that’s really important to the channel,” he said. “There are a lots of customers out there that are looking for Oracle database alternatives. With this technology in Microsoft’s hands, Microsoft has the ability and the channel partners to credibly go after big hunks of the market. This is a big deal because of that.”

Because most partners – from system integrators to resellers to consultants – work with customers on databases, Microsoft’s acquisition of Citus Data gives the company a  powerful option in its back pocket, added Olds.

“Customers tend to like to find alternatives to Oracle because Oracle is expensive and there are a lot of restricted policies for users,” he said. “Really, Oracle has had this space to [itself] for the most part for a long time. Now they are going to see some competition if Microsoft executes properly. It’s good for the marketplace.”

Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, agrees.


Pund-IT’s Charles King

“I think the Citrus acquisition can be seen in both practical and strategic terms,” said King. “Practically, it adds to Microsoft’s other Postgres investments and should help enhance the company’s related Azure services. Strategically, it adds to the drumbeat of Microsoft’s investments in and support for open source.”

King called the acquisition a positive move all around.

“For channel companies that leverage Postgres technologies, the deal should provide some additional bells and whistles they can pass on as enhancements to customers.”

The acquisition of a Postgres vendor is not an all-new strategy and path for Microsoft. The company last March launched a fully managed, community-based database service for PostgreSQL on Microsoft Azure.

“The acquisition of Citus Data builds on Azure’s open source commitment and enables us to …

… provide the massive scalability and performance our customers demand as their workloads grow,” wrote Microsoft’s Kumar in his blog. “Together, Microsoft and Citus Data will further unlock the power of data, enabling customers to scale complex, multitenant 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.”

Citus is available as a fully managed database as a service, as enterprise software, and as a free open-source download.

Umur Cubukcu, CEO and co-founder of Citus Data, wrote in a separate post that the deal bringing the two companies together will be good for their customers and users.

“As part of Microsoft, we will stay focused on building an amazing database on top of PostgreSQL that gives our users the game-changing scale, performance and resilience they need,” wrote Cubukcu. “We will continue to drive innovation in this space. We remain as committed to our customers as ever and will continue providing the strong support for the products our customers use today. And we will continue to actively participate in the Postgres community, working on the Citus open source extension as well as the other open source Postgres extensions you love.”

The deal was eventually made possible through the support of the PostgreSQL community, Citus’ customers and the company’s employees, he wrote.

“We are humbled to work with all of you, and we are looking forward to working together as we deliver ever bigger things to our community, our users, and our customers in the next chapter of our journey — now as part of Microsoft.”

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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