Sendachi, Born From An Anglo-American Merger Of DevOps Specialists, Sets Sights On Enterprise IT Transformation

An emerging IT landscape characterized by cloud, containers, configuration managers and DevOps methodology calls for a new breed of solution provider.

Two channel firms on opposite sides of the Atlantic on Thursday revealed that they have joined forces to help enterprises grappling with terms more recognized than understood -- continuous delivery, agile development, micro-services.

Sendachi, born from the merger of Seattle-based Clutch and London-based Contino, is a DevOps shop that concentrates on not only enabling modern software development, delivery and deployment processes, but also making them self-manageable for customers, Steven Anderson, formerly CEO of Clutch and now CEO of Sendachi, told CRN.

[Related: DevOps Positioned For Takeoff In 2016]

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The matchmaker for the Anglo-American union was Columbia Capital, a venture capitalist with a knack for introducing companies that have natural synergy.

Anderson told CRN that while DevOps methodology is an important component of IT transformation, the core problem that needs to be addressed for most customers is adding velocity to their digital business processes.

While there are a philosophy and tool kits wrapped up in solving that challenge, it's important to remember large pieces of the puzzle are cultural, organizational and strategic.

"The business is often left out of the DevOps equation, and that is usually a mistake," Anderson told CRN. "If you have a huge trough between business and [the] technology team, the process is going to fall down."

Sendachi's trans-Atlantic practice launched last month, with headquarters in Seattle, after about a half a year of laying the groundwork for the merger.

Both Clutch and Contino had been self-sustaining as independent entities, Anderson said. But Sendachi will be financed by a $30 million investment from Columbia Capital to drive faster growth.

"The investors found us both," Anderson said of Columbia, which was a lead investor in Cloud Sherpas, a born-in-the-cloud solution provider that scaled rapidly, then sold last year to consulting giant Accenture. "They're very good at recognizing the market opportunity and start going out looking for companies that are interesting to combine."

Before Columbia's involvement, Clutch and Contino were "both seeing the same opportunity from slightly different vantage points," Anderson said.

Contino had built expertise around Linux containers, and became "kind of the Docker go-to guys in Europe," he said. Clutch focused more on overall IT transformation, which led it to turn to container-based architecture.

"So we met in the middle," Anderson said.

Both organizations emphasized having staff immersed in technology. They both preferred hiring developers above consultants, looking for employees with systems architecture experience, "people who have shipped software before," Anderson said.

"So we have a high degree of technical acumen in both organizations. People who have built large-scale systems," he added.

Sendachi has partnered with Amazon Web Services, but also is "well-versed" in Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, as well as private and hybrid cloud models. The company mostly works with Docker in the container space, but has a lot of experience with Mesosphere.

On the configuration side, they work with Chef, Puppet and Ansible.

Such vendor agnosticism results from a business model that forgoes any licensing revenue.

"Everything is pure services-based," Anderson said. "We don’t want to be tainted by taking money from people whose tools we're recommending."

It’s the right business model, he believes, at a time when enterprises are feeling pressure to have smaller development teams ship more software at less cost and less impact on the business.

While they can achieve the same IT goals cheaper by leveraging micro-services architecture, containerization and the cloud, DevOps and containerization in themselves aren't the cure-all some believe, Anderson said.

"It's still a complex problem. Taking legacy applications and plopping them into Docker isn't going to make your world better. It's going to make it worse," Anderson said.

People talk about DevOps as an enabler of innovation, but that's really just a happy byproduct.

"The biggest thing is, you can do more with less, ship more often with less cost," he said.

Chief information officers know they should be paying attention to these technologies and methodologies, but once they dive deeper, they realize it's not so simple.

And that's the opportunity for the channel.

"We say, here's how it should look like for you, here's a road map," Anderson said. At the same time, Sendachi makes clear to customers it's not going to take over the IT infrastructure.

"We're shepherding them through, so by the time the engagement is over they can do that themselves," Anderson said.