IBM acquires StepZen to help companies get more business value from their data and APIs


IBM acquires StepZen to help companies get more business value from their data and APIs

By Kareem Yusuf, Ph.D | Senior Vice President of Product Management and Growth, IBM Software

February 08, 2023

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

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

The increasing adoption of hybrid cloud has resulted in data being stored everywhere – in different types of data stores such as data warehouses, lakes and lakehouses, as well as in different clouds and on-premises environments. APIs serve as the essential link between disparate data sources and applications, which means more than ever, businesses are relying on and building APIs to get the data they need for their applications and experiences.

GraphQL has quickly become the query language of choice for companies to interact with their data and is emerging as a new standard for APIs, based on the investments in REST APIs and data systems. Take an e-commerce application for example. With a single call, GraphQL can merge data found in different subsystems, such as customer information, order numbers, and delivery status, and return it in an expected format. This simplicity is why GraphQL’s popularity and usage is increasing rapidly. A report by Gartner® predict that by 2025 more than 50 percent of companies will be using GraphQL in production, up from less than 10 percent in 20211. While GraphQL APIs are much easier to use for application teams, they can be challenging for the teams tasked with building them.

Founded in 2020, StepZen offers developers an easier way to build GraphQL APIs. StepZen takes a declarative programming approach (which describes WHAT the program does without explicitly stating HOW), resulting in smaller and more intuitive code, better runtime performance, and faster time to value. StepZen was also designed to be very flexible. It is compatible with other API approaches and is available as a service (SaaS), while also supporting private cloud and on-premises data center deployments.

StepZen was developed by a team of industry veterans who have made major 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 entity. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

StepZen is the latest example of IBM innovating through a combination of R&D and strategic acquisitions to deliver the data, AI and automation solutions businesses need in the hybrid cloud era. StepZen complements IBM’s organic development in key areas such as integration, API management, data fabric and data management. For example, IBM has provided new AI testing capabilities for IBM API Connect, which analyzes your APIs, automatically generates test cases and reports any errors observed, helping to improve code quality and developer productivity. We believe that StepZen’s innovative technology for GraphQL API building complements the innovations IBM is driving in API Connect to enable companies to create better digital experiences for their customers.

Customers can learn more about StepZen by visiting

1Source: Gartner Research, “Predicts 2022: APIs Demand Improved Security and Management” [December 6, 2021]

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the US and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Media contact:

Sarah Murphy
IBM communication

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