ARM buys Treasure Data, creates Pelion IoT Platform

ARM has confirmed that it is acquiring Treasure Data, after a leak revealed its plans a few days early. ARM isn’t discussing the price, but the reports pegged it as $600mn, and ARM is now the owner of an established enterprise-focused data management specialist – and plans to expand its combined offering, attempting to make it much stickier.

There’s also something of a rebrand happening. ARM will be combining its recently acquired Stream Technologies assets with Treasure Data’s portfolio, and then integrating these new pieces inside ARM’s Mbed Cloud platform. The goal is an “end-to-end IoT connectivity, device, and data management platform.”

This will be called the Pelion IoT Platform, with Stream handling the connectivity (via its IoT-X platform), Mbed is on devices, and then Treasure Data is being used for the data handling functions – namely, Ingest, Integrate, Store, Prepare, Discover, and Share.

That latter point is worth emphasizing, as ARM currently plans to use Pelion as a way to prepare data to be exported to other data analytics providers. Currently, those analytics are delineated, carried out by customers or partners. ARM’s Dipesh Patel, president of the IoT Services Group, said that this was because there are such large segmentations between different verticals and applications. Partnering to create an ecosystem of experts is an easier approach than having a one-size-fits-all approach, it seems.

So Pelion’s role is getting the data from the end-device ready to be exported to a third-party cloud. For now at least, that’s the extent of ARM’s ambition. It does call Treasure Data the final piece in its IoT enablement puzzle, but in general terms, there are going to be a lot of startups looking to be absorbed in the next couple of years, which could be nice fits.

Buying an analytics provider could be a good next-step for ARM, but the data processing market is a huge one. ARM cites a Forrester study it commissioned that found 67% of organizations face challenges with data silos, and that half struggle with data preparation. If a company like ARM can walk in the door and show such an organization how simple those challenges could be, then there’s a lot of cash on the table to grab.

Pelion is going to be offered in a number of configurations – public and private cloud, on-premises, and also hybrid environments. As it stands, ARM says that the Pelion IoT Platform has a combined partner ecosystem of over 140 companies, comprising MNOs, silicon providers, and channel partners. Patel notes that no one company can do everything itself – they need partners to succeed.

Treasure Data’s main offering was the Enterprise Customer Data Platform (CDP), which ARM says is a market leader. With over 300 customers, the CDP apparently handles 2mn events per second, culminating in 50tn records each day. The CDP is going to be kept online, with the Treasure Data Platform due to continue while ARM looks to use Treasure Data inside Pelion.

When asked about the pricing model, on the announcement call, Patel said it would be a SaaS-like subscription model, which is the approach taken in ARM’s other services, billed on a monthly basis. The details on how ARM will be segmenting the offerings, when it comes to combining elements of each. The time-frame for the product integrations is 6 to 9 months, with ARM actively selling each of the components.

We asked about the strategy to create an integrated platform, and whether it was something that predated the acquisition of ARM by SoftBank – a $31bn deal completed in September 2016. We were told that this platform had always been a vision for ARM, but SoftBank shared this same idea, which was accelerated post-acquisition.

As for future expansion into the analytics space, Patel said that ARM wanted to make it sure it remained focused on horizontal problems that span different vertical markets. He said that this had been the main focus, and that any future investments would have that in mind, noting that many analytics functions are very specific to verticals and applications.

Our final question regarded the etymology of the name. Pelion is a Greek mountain, and in Greek mythology, was the home of Chiron the Centaur, the tutor of Achilles, Heracles, and Theseus. It was also the location of the wedding of Thetis and Peleus, where Eris brought a golden apple for the fairest at the wedding. The fallout from that dispute, between Aphrodite, Athena, and Hera, set the stage for the Trojan War.