IBM Is Acquiring StepZen: Details (IBM)

By Noah Long ● Feb 14, 2023
  • IBM announced it is buying StepZen. These are the details.

IBM is announcing the acquisition of StepZen, which is a company that developed a GraphQL server with a unique architecture that helps developers build GraphQL APIs quickly and with less code.

This news marks IBM’s first acquisition of 2023. And since Arvind Krishna became CEO in April 2020, IBM has acquired 30 companies to bolster its hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.

The rising adoption of hybrid cloud resulted in data stored everywhere – in different types of data stores likes data warehouses, lakes, and lakehouses as well as across different clouds and on-premises environments. And APIs serve as the essential connector between different data sources and applications, which means that businesses are relying on and creating more APIs than ever before to get the data they need to power their applications and experiences.

GraphQL has quickly become a go-to query language for companies to interact with their data and is emerging as a new standard for APIs, layering upon investments in REST APIs and data systems.

For an e-commerce application, GraphQL can merge data with a single call that is found in different subsystems, like customer information, order numbers, and delivery status, and return it in an expected format. And this simplicity is why the popularity and usage of GraphQL is growing quickly.

Over 50% of enterprises will use GraphQL in production, up from less than 10% in 20211. And while GraphQL APIs are significantly easier for application teams to use, they can be challenging for the teams tasked with creating them.

Launched in 2020, StepZen provides an easier way for developers to build GraphQL APIs. And StepZen takes a declarative programming approach (describing WHAT the program does, without explicitly specifying HOW), which results in smaller and more intuitive code, better runtime performance, and faster time to value. Plus StepZen was also designed to be highly flexible. It is compatible with other API approaches and is available as-a-Service (SaaS) while also supporting deployments in private clouds and on-premises data centers.

StepZen was developed by a team of industry veterans who have made key contributions to database technology including IBM Db2, PostgreSQL and Apache Derby, and have deep expertise in APIs and cloud-scale deployments. The acquisition closed on February 6, 2023, and the StepZen team and technology will become part of the IBM Software unit. The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

StepZen is the latest example of how IBM is innovating through a combination of R&D and strategic acquisitions to deliver the data, AI, and automation solutions that businesses need in the hybrid cloud era. And StepZen complements IBM’s organic development in key areas including integration, API management, data fabric, and data management.

For example, IBM delivered new AI testing capabilities for IBM API Connect, which analyzes your APIs, generates test cases automatically, and reports any errors that it observes, helping improve code quality and developer productivity. And the company believes StepZen’s innovative technology for GraphQL API creation complements the innovations IBM is driving in API Connect to enable businesses to build better digital experiences for their clients.