HashiCorp’s Journey Ends in a $6.4 Billion IBM Acquisition

Big move: IBM acquires HashiCorp for $6.4 billion, aiming to expand multi-cloud solutions.

Remember the news last August that shook the open source community when Hashicorp announced a change in licensing policy for one of its flagship products, Terraform, a de facto standard for Infrastructure as Code (IaC)? This move led to the emergence of the free OpenTofu project.

Well, it turns out that HashiCorp had its reasons for this decision.

HashiCorp Teams Up with IBM

In a significant tech industry move, HashiCorp, a leader in cloud automation, has announced its acquisition by IBM for a whopping $6.4 billion – a strategic partnership aiming to fast-track the adoption of multi-cloud automation technologies.

Armon Dadgar, co-founder of HashiCorp, publicly announced the merger on April 24, 2024. He expressed his enthusiasm about the acquisition, seeing it as a monumental step to expand HashiCorp’s reach and enhance its offerings with IBM’s robust support.

“Today we announced that HashiCorp has signed an agreement to be acquired by IBM to accelerate the multi-cloud automation journey we started almost 12 years ago. I’m hugely excited by this announcement and believe this is an opportunity to further the HashiCorp mission and to expand to a much broader audience with the support of IBM.”

Now, let’s take a little walk back in time. HashiCorp’s journey began in 2012, when Dadgar and his co-founder, Mitchell Hashimoto, started exploring public clouds as hobbyists and later as developers working on essential applications. They quickly realized the importance of automation in managing cloud infrastructures at scale and the inevitable shift towards a multi-cloud environment.

Their experiences led them to establish HashiCorp with a clear mission: facilitating cloud automation across multiple platforms. Over the years, HashiCorp’s innovative products have been widely embraced by the open-source ecosystem and the tech world as a whole, with downloads reaching hundreds of millions annually.

Twelve years later, having achieved great success with its open-source tools in cloud computing, the company will continue its development under the wing of IBM.

HashiCorp’s Flagship Products

Here are the company’s products that largely set the tone for DevOps practices these days:

  • Terraform – The most well-known HashiCorp product. It is an infrastructure as code (IaC) software tool that allows users to define and provision data center infrastructure using a high-level configuration language. It is used to manage both cloud and on-premises resources.
  • Vault – Tool for securing, storing, and tightly controlling access to tokens, passwords, certificates, API keys, and other secrets in modern computing. It helps manage secrets and protect sensitive data.
  • Consul – A service networking solution to automate network configurations, discover services, and enable secure connectivity across any cloud or runtime. It provides a full-featured control plane with service discovery, configuration, and segmentation functionality.
  • Nomad – A simple and flexible workload orchestrator that deploys and manages containers and non-containerized applications across on-prem and clouds at scale. It is designed for simplicity and supports a variety of task drivers.
  • Vagrant – A product used to build and maintain portable virtual software development environments. It provides easy-to-configure, reproducible, and portable work environments built on top of industry-standard technology and controlled by a single consistent workflow.
  • Packer: A tool for creating identical machine images for multiple platforms from a single source configuration. It is used in conjunction with infrastructure as code tools like Terraform.

What Next?

If you’re a regular home user, this news might not matter much to you. However, it could be the biggest news of the year for those in the enterprise cloud sector. Why? Because the tools listed above are the de facto standard these days when it comes to cloud infrastructure provisioning, and for any DevOps professional, they’re an integral part of their day-to-day work.

In light of this, IBM’s acquisition of HashiCorp brings up several important questions, particularly concerning potential changes in licensing policy. These worries are not unfounded, given IBM’s track record with open source.

Need examples? Аfter the Red Hat acquisition, CentOS, the server operating system dominating until then, not only the Linux field but the server front in general, was successfully shut down in effect and converted to CentOS Stream. In other words, from a leading server platform, its use as such in production systems is not even considered these days.

What does the future hold for HashiCorp tools? We’re still waiting to see. Is IBM’s acquisition of the company beneficial for the open-source community? Not really. But is it good for business? Absolutely! This sums it all up.

Let’s not forget that IBM also owns Red Hat, the leading provider of enterprise Linux solutions. Now, with HashiCorp’s tools under its wing, IBM is becoming the company that pretty much will set the direction for cloud computing. We can only hope that this path will be favorable to open source.

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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