Some say Acquia is just another cloud infrastructure provider. Some question its position on analysts' lists for WCM software when they don't actually sell any. But with Drupal as its underlying web content management platform, Acquia has big plans, and everyone should be paying attention.
Getting to Know Acquia
If you want a good picture of who Acquia is and where it's headed, just ask Tom Wentworth, its Chief Marketing Officer. Wentworth tells a compelling story.
In 2012, Acquia was ranked #1 by the Inc 500 as the fastest growing software vendor (it ranked 8th overall). 2013 shows a similar theme ranking them at #8 for software vendors and 109th overall. It's impressive to see the company grow from revenues of US$ 1.4 million in 2009 to over US$ 24 million just 5 years later. This rapid growth Wentworth told me is only going to continue. With annual earnings growing 50% year over year from last year, Wentworth said Acquia is growing as fast as marketing automation vendor Marketo (and we all know what Marketo did this year).
Actively driving towards its own IPO in 2014, Acquia is making a number of changes, both management and product/service wise. In terms of management, it recently added former Buddy Media CFO, Dennis Morgan as its new CFO. Morgan was there when Buddy Media was acquired by Salesforce in April of 2012.
As interesting as all this financial and IPO talk is, let's get down to the nitty gritty of why people talk about Acquia — its Drupal-based hosting business.
Acquia's Cloud is More Than Just a Cloud
What makes Acquia successful? Wentworth points to two dimensions in its business:
- It has the right products/offerings for organizations using Drupal. The target here is Global 2000 organizations. Acquia has solid customer penetration in this target group.
- It proactively exposes Drupal's market opportunity for enterprise deployments.
Wentworth said that Acquia's future growth lies in doing two things:
- Providing solutions that compliment what it already does (we'll break this down shortly)
- Going head to head with Adobe and Sitecore for replatforming projects
Ninety nine percent of the time, if an enterprise is using Drupal, it's using Acquia. Now that's Wentworth's number, I can't back that up. But it does stand to reason that large organizations using an open source web content management platform are going to want to ensure it has official support for it — and that's where Acquia comes in.
Acquia has a set of core products. They are, Wentworth points out, a software company. And they have a support and services offering. Let's take a close look:
This is Acquia's primary offering. It is the Drupal platform as a service. Acquia Cloud is for organizations that want Drupal and all the security, scalability and availability that comes with it. But it's even more. It provides the workflow behind creating and managing a Drupal site.
As most know, the traditional model for developing web applications (or any application really) is laid out as development, to staging, to production. You are able to manage Drupal as an application as well, so you have the workflow that will help you manage it if it goes down. You don't see that model in a lot of hosted offerings. It's a key selling point for this cloud.
It's also good to point out that Acquia Cloud is PAAS — platform as a service. So it provides the underlying infrastructure for an organizations that uses Drupal. The actual distribution of Drupal (and according to Wentworth there are 20 or more major distributions) is up to the organization.
To get an idea of what you get with the Acquia Cloud, Acquia recently announced a free version that allows developers to learn to use the workflow and deployment tools between development and staging. That's the catch with this free version — there is no production site. This is a sandbox for playing and testing new features. Great option for anyone learning Drupal. It's also a great selling tool for organizations that like to try before they buy.
The Acquia Network is the second big offering from Acquia. This is a set of tools that help you keep your site running, in either the Acquia Cloud or your own network. It provides application assurance for Drupal environments. There are a few tools here including:
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