Samsung Acquires Joyent

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Samsung Acquires Joyent

Last week, Samsung Electronics bought out cloud services developer Joyent. Read on to find out why the companies made that move.

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In a June 15 blog post, 12-year-old cloud services provider Joyent announced that it was joining the Samsung Electronics family.

CTO Bryan Cantrill posted a lengthy breakdown of the event, but there are a few salient points.

The Right Fit

"A decade ago, one probably wouldn't have guessed that the leaders in computing — which at the time included the survivors from the mainframe, minicomputer, workstation and personal computer revolutions — would become a search engine and an online bookstore," Cantrill wrote.

Meanwhile, Joyent quietly grew. Among its top achievements were the creation of Node.js, its proprietary public cloud service, Triton, and Manta, the company's distributed object storage service.

Throughout the past decade, Cantrill said, "many (all?) computing infrastructure companies have come calling at one time or another, with varying degrees of seriousness and aspiration."

But none of them felt like the right fit — until Samsung stopped by. Samsung wanted to put Joyent's services to the test. They seemed particularly interested in Manta and started probing into its capabilities.

"With respect to Manta in particular, Samsung asked about an attribute of scale that we believed we could achieve in principle, but hadn't yet had the opportunity (read: millions of dollars worth of spare hardware) to validate in practice," Cantrill said.

So, in a move akin to Inception's Saito ("I bought the airline") Samsung brought in the hardware to help turn theories into reality.

Next Steps

"The more we got to know one another," Cantrill went onto say, "the clearer it became that together we could summon a level of scale, agility, and innovation that would be greater than the sum of our parts — that together, our technology could create a new titan of container-native computing."

Samsung is not only buying Joyent, but Cantrill said they plan on becoming the largest user of the company's services. With the massive scale of Samsung's user base at hand, Cantrill said he expects work to keep pouring into not just Triton, but also the rest of its services.


That covers the who, what, and when, but let's dig down into the why.

In a word, it looks like it's about diversity.

If you took an introductory economics class (or just listen to a lot of business jargon), you're probably familiar with the concept of low-hanging fruit. If you had better things to do, it basically states that you should do the simplest, easiest work first — maximum reward for the least amount of effort. 

For a while, the demand for smartphones has made those products some pretty tempting fruit. But for the first time since their introduction, according to the International Data Corporation, smartphone sales are flat.

To Samsung's credit, the company isn't just charging ahead, hoping that throwing more products into a saturated market will solve the problem. Instead, Samsung seems to be looking for ways to spread their reach.

Right now, Samsung uses Amazon Web Services for a lot of its backend work. Samsung's consumer electronics have shared a close relationship with Amazon's various tools and services. By purchasing Joyent, Samsung can start looking in-house for its own solutions, rather than relying on a third party.

None of that has been publicly acknowledged, but that seems to be the direction Joyent's staff is leaning in.

For instance, Cantrill was ecstatic in his post about the new possibilities for both Samsung and Joyent. "So if you are a consumer of the services we run or the software we make — either on the public cloud, as a software customer, or as a member of the SmartOS, Triton and/or Manta communities — you should take this as profound validation: one of the world's largest companies (!) sees what you yourself saw, and has seen fit to supercharge the technology with the strength of its size," he said.

Exactly how Samsung plans on leveraging its new acquisition is anyone's guess, but at the rate cloud computing and containerization are catching fire in the industry, the sky is the limit.

cloud computing, joyent, node.js, samsung

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