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Mike Cote's Business Editor's Notebook: Dyn's path to Oracle was a long time coming

By MIKE COTE
Union Leader Business Editor

May 19. 2018 8:19PM

Kyle York, general manager and vice president of business and product strategy for Oracle + Dyn, speaks during Tuesday's celebration of the Oracle acquisition of Dyn. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)



Kyle York remembers joining Dyn 10 years ago when the young company was trying to create an identity that may have been premature but ultimately predicted its future.

"We were up the street in the Brady Sullivan building. And it was the most corporate, stodgy office I've ever been in," York told his fellow employees last week. "It was 15 engineers, and I remember looking around and saying, 'What are you guys doing in this?' They said 'Well, we want to look and feel and act like Oracle.'"

Dyn eventually set up shop at 150 Dow St. in the Millyard, where it created a home that looked "a lot more grungy and startup and edgy and cool."

But the new sign installed this month on top of the building says it all: Oracle.

York, general manager and vice president of product strategy, served as emcee on Tuesday during a celebration to recognize the company's new moniker. The event included the debut of a time-lapse video of workers changing the rooftop sign. (hub.dyn.com/videos/oracle-dyn-sign-timelapse.)

Dyn is now a business unit within Oracle, which acquired the Internet-performance company in November 2016 for a reported $600 million.

During Tuesday's event, employees listened to speeches by Gov. Chris Sununu, Mayor Joyce Craig and inventor Dean Kamen and stood in line for goodie bags that included Oracle T-shirts that say "Live Free or Die" in giant type on the back - a nod from the new corporate parent that it appreciates Dyn's Granite State roots.

While the Manchester operation has been branded as Oracle + Dyn, Oracle stands alone on the sign that replaced the one Dyn installed on the building in 2014.

Doug Kehring, an executive vice president who oversees corporate development for the Silicon Valley giant, said Oracle delayed replacing the sign to help ease the transition.

"I think when we change the sign right away, people get a little upset. They wonder whether Oracle is putting in place a lot of the bureaucracies that come with a bigger company," Kehring told the group. "While you have gotten some of that stuff, I think we tried to maintain a lot of the continuity of the things that made Dyn great."

Oracle has hired more than 100 local workers since the acquisition, Kehring noted. When Oracle bought Dyn, the company had about 400 employees, including 330 based in Manchester.

Oracle already had operations in Nashua and Boston when it bought Dyn. The Redwood Shores, Calif., company, which reported $37.7 billion in revenue in 2017, employs more than 138,000 people.

"The reality is what you guys are doing here in this town is something we want to build upon," Kehring said.

Becoming Oracle

Oracle's acquisition of Dyn grew out of a business relationship that already was about five years old, York said Tuesday during an interview before the company celebration.

"That relationship grew from a very small account to a very high six-figure annual account for us. It was a very important relationship for us and for Oracle," said York, who moved back to New Hampshire from California in 2008 to work with a small team that included fellow West High School graduate and Dyn co-founder Jeremy Hitchcock.

Oracle, best known for its database management systems and enterprise software used by business, has spent the last several years expanding the services it offers in the cloud, where data and software applications are stored on remote servers and are accessed by customers via the internet. In 2016, Oracle was building a new platform and wanted to use Dyn's technology, York said. Dyn had developed a global reputation as a provider of domain name system services, providing the back-end support that helps keep websites running.

Oracle and Dyn had been in talks for a few months in October 2016 when Dyn was faced with a major crisis. A massive distributed denial of service attack - originating from millions of internet protocol addresses from malware-infected devices - knocked out user access to Dyn's customers, including popular consumer sites like Netflix, Twitter, Amazon and Spotify.

"A little known fact: We actually signed the letter of intent with Oracle the same day as that attack," York said.

While the attack brought great attention to the vulnerability of the internet, it underscored Dyn's role in global online commerce - and why it made sense for Dyn to join Oracle, which the companies announced a month later.

"It was absolute reaffirmation for me that it was the right home for Dyn because you need a company with the resources of an Oracle to provide infrastructure and services to the world's biggest brands," York said. "It's great to build a great startup, but some days you realize it's pretty tough to compete with an Oracle. They've been around for 40 years."

Those resources allow Oracle to ramp up its internet service investments. In March, Oracle acquired Zenedge, a Florida company whose cloud-based application and network security products are now part of the Oracle platform that includes Dyn's technology. 

As the internet of things means more and more interconnected devices in homes and businesses, getting them to operate together efficiently and protecting data networks from disruption will become increasingly challenging, York said.

"The importance for commerce, media and entertainment, banking, health care - you name your industry - we're managing that on any device we may be using, whether that's a tablet or an iPad or a phone or a computer," York said. "The more things are interconnected, the more we're moving around, the more important applications are running online, the more complex and volatile it's going to get. It's not going to get any simpler."

Contact Business Editor Mike Cote at 206-7724 or mcote@unionleader.com.


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