Oracle Makes Rich Media Content Play With Front Porch Digital Buy

Oracle said Sunday it has agreed to acquire content storage management solution developer Front Porch Digital, giving it a cloud and on-premise solution for managing digital media content to complement its existing storage solutions.

Financial details of the acquisition, which is expected to close some time this year, were not released. Oracle declined to provide further details about the acquisition.

Lafayette, Colo.-based Front Porch Digital develops content storage management solutions including DIVASolutions, a content storage management system for protecting, managing, storing and delivering rich media; the Lynx cloud solution for integrating and securing digital content distribution; and SAMMA Migration Solutions for converting content from analog to digital formats for production, monetization or preservation.

[Related: Oracle OpenWorld: Oracle All-In On Big Data]

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In unveiling the acquisition, Oracle said Front Porch Digital's customers will benefit from increased R&D investment from Oracle in its products and services, along with Oracle's global scale.

The deal could be a big one in terms of impact on the content storage management business given the increasing use of digital acquisition technology, wrote Joe Zaller, a digital media strategist and founder of Devoncroft Partners, a Coronado, Calif.-based digital media analyst firm.

As the amount of digital content being created grows, content owners are looking for new ways to manage and monetize their media assets, including on-premise and cloud-based assets, Zaller wrote in a research note on the acquisition.

"By combining Oracle’s disk-based and LTO storage platforms, with FPD’s storage management solutions, Oracle now has the capability to sell both the storage hardware and the crucial software management layer that supports it, and do so at scale," Zaller wrote.

Front Porch Digital works with a wide range of technology partners, many of whom are rivals to Oracle's storage offering. Larger partners include Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, NetApp, Imation, Oracle and Quantum.

"Of course this combination also raises competitive issues, since Front Porch Digital’s partner ecosystem includes a wide variety of other storage vendors, who may in the future shy away from working with a management platform owned by a competitor," Zaller wrote.

Oracle anticipated the competitive issue in its FAQ about the acquisition where it wrote, "Oracle plans to further optimize Front Porch Digital solutions with Oracle technologies, while maintaining the technology-agnostic profile for Front Porch Digital’s offerings."

For Oracle, the acquisition is one more way to get in front of even more potential clients, said Chris Rapp, CEO of Apex IT, an Edina, Minn.-based solution provider and Oracle partner.

"Oracle has been making a lot of acquisitions that get their solutions in front of customers," Rapp told CRN. "Oracle wants to get in deep with customers."

Oracle is not shy about acquiring new technologies instead of building them on its own, Rapp said.

"Oracle wants to take its solutions to customers and convert those customers to work with Oracle," he said. "It also is expanding its product lines. Most customers accept the idea of Oracle making acquisitions. A lot of customers will say, 'Great, now Oracle owns it. That's one less company to deal with.'"