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IBM purchase of the venture-backed SaaS for Presto startup company further builds its open-source portfolio.

Last week IBM announced that it had acquired Ahana, a startup SaaS company that offers managed and commercial versions of the Presto open-source distributed query engine. In buying Ahana, IBM becomes a member of the Presto Foundation, the organisation that oversees the development of the Presto open source project.

The Presto project , which was spun off from Meta Platforms in 2013, bills itself as a “fast and reliable SQL query engine for data analytics and the open lakehouse” – i.e., a repository for data analytics that includes both structured and unstructured data types. Ahana’s software was initially built to run on the Hadoop framework for storing and processing large data sets but has since been extended to a variety of other relational and non-relational sources.

The companies made the joint announcement on April 12, although neither party disclosed the price of the deal.

IBM praises Presto’s “sheer growth and scale”

The acquisition was announced by Vikram Murali, IBM’s Vice President of Hybrid Data Management, in a blog post. “We’re seeing demonstrated growth in the open source community around Presto”, he writes. “The project has 14.6K Github stars, saw a 110% growth of members in the community over the past year, and an engagement rate of close to 50% across all of the Presto community channels”.

The purchase of Ahana demonstrates “IBM’s long-standing commitment to open source”, Murali writes, referencing IBM’s acquisition of Red Hat in 2018. He adds that IBM has also partnered with the foremost open source organizations, such as Linux, Apache and Eclipse, dating back to the 1990s.

“More importantly, at IBM we believe in the open source governance of the Linux Foundation’s Presto Foundation”, Murali continues. “One example is our role as a founding member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which fostered the growth of Kubernetes“.

“We see our involvement with Presto Foundation as a similar relationship”, he adds.