Red Hat Slurps Up FeedHenry

Red Hat on Thursday announced that it will acquire FeedHenry as part of a stepped-up initiative to support mobile application development.

“Given the sheer number of mobile phones out there and the sheer adoption in the market at large of mobile technologies, our customers and prospects and target customer base are moving more and more toward mobile — if not as a primary platform then as a major one for supporting enterprise applications,” said Mike Piech, Red Hat’s general manager for middleware.

In pursuit of its own mobile strategy, Red Hat “wanted to go much broader and faster,” Piech told LinuxInsider.

An acquisition is often a good way to do that, he noted. “We found kindred spirits at FeedHenry, with lots of complementarity on a number of dimensions.”

FeedHenry, founded in 2010, offers a cloud-based enterprise mobile application platform that enables customers to design, develop, deploy and manage applications for mobile devices, with a focus on extending enterprise systems to mobile users.

Red Hat will acquire FeedHenry for about 63.5 million euros (US$81.5 million); the transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of fiscal year 2015.

A Key Addition

With an open and extensible architecture based on Node.js for client and server side mobile app development, the FeedHenry platform offers developers the flexibility to create apps native to Android, iOS, Windows Phone or BlackBerry, as well as hybrid, HTML5 and Web apps.

The platform supports a variety of popular toolkits including native SDKs, hybrid Apache Cordova, HTML5 and Titanium, as well as frameworks such as Xamarin, Sencha Touch and other JavaScript frameworks. It integrates with mobile application and device management solutions such as AirWatch and MobileIron.

FeedHenry will be an important addition to Red Hat’s JBoss xPaaS for OpenShift strategy, which provides a platform and services for mobile developers and applications, Red Hat said.

Red Hat already delivers enterprise application, integration and business process automation capabilities and services in an extensible open PaaS platform. The addition of FeedHenry will allow it to provide the security, policy management, synchronization and integration features needed to support mobile applications, the company pointed out.

‘The Growing Popularity of Node.js’

“Until recently, very few middleware platforms have been available to help organizations build true enterprise-scale mobile applications,” explained Craig Muzilla, senior vice president of Red Hat’s Application Platform Business.

With the acquisition of FeedHenry, “Red Hat can now offer enterprise mobile application platforms,” he added. “Enterprises can build, deploy, and manage open, flexible, and scalable applications for mobile devices, with the power and flexibility of Red Hat’s open source infrastructure, cloud and middleware solutions.”

The move represents a confirmation of “the combined power of mobile and cloud, the mass-market adoption of mobile application and MBaaS platforms, and the growing popularity of Node.js,” said Cathal McGloin, FeedHenry’s CEO.

Broadened Developer Appeal

Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) technologies are “a hot area of growth right now,” Al Hilwa, program director for software development research with IDC, told LinuxInsider. “It is a popular area of mobile development, which in itself is one of the fastest-growing parts of the app dev space in general.”

There’s considerable alignment and many synergies in Red Hat’s acquisition, particularly given that “FeedHenry is open source based, and that Red Hat does not have a competing offering per se,” Hilwa pointed out.

“I think the set of back-end services for mobile applications is a great addition to Red Hat’s cloud strategy,” he said. It “truly broadens the developer appeal of their overall offering.”

Katherine Noyes has been reporting on business and technology for decades. You can find her on Twitter and Google+.

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