Skip to content

IBM buys Y Combinator-backed cloud database startup Compose

IBM today announced that it has acquired Compose, a startup that operates multiple types of NoSQL databases as cloud services on behalf of companies. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The deal comes a year and a half after IBM bought Cloudant, a startup that played in the same database as a service (DBaaS) market but supported a database based on open-source CouchDB.

Compose, by contrast, supports other databases: MongoDB, Redis, Elasticsearch, RethinkDB, and PostgreSQL. It can run these databases on the cloud of customers’ choosing, including Amazon Web Services, DigitalOcean, and IBM’s SoftLayer. IBM has no plans to discontinue Compose’s support for clouds other than SoftLayer, a spokesman said.

This deal, following CenturyLink’s acquisition of Orchestrate a few months ago, is further proof of the appeal of cloud-hosted versions of open-source databases. Deploying and maintaining databases takes expertise and work, and it looks like clearer than ever that cloud providers believe they can efficiently operate these databases on behalf of their customers in their ever larger portfolios of services.

IBM is continually looking to catch up in the cloud infrastructure market. Public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services fields the Relational Database Service, DynamoDB, and Elasticache, which includes Redis support. Google hasCloud Bigtable, Cloud Datastore, and Cloud SQL. Microsoft has Azure SQL Database and DocumentDB.

Other DBaaS startups include InstaclustrQbox, and Redis Labs.

Compose started in 2010 and was based in San Mateo, California. The startup previously went by the name MongoHQ but adjusted that to reflect its support for databases beyond MongoDB. The startup went through Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator in summer 2011 and announced a $6 million funding round in 2012.

Investors include Data Collective, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, SV Angel, and Webb Investment Network.

In 2013 the startup got hacked and told customers to change their passwords.

Thousands of companies have spun up more than 100,000 databases through Compose, IBM said in a statement on the acquisition.