CA continues cloud computing buying spree

CA signs agreement to acquire 3Tera to help customers more easily transition applications to private and public clouds

CA enters into a deal to buy 3Tera in a move industry watchers say will catapult the IT management software maker into cloud computing customer accounts

CA Wednesday announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire for an undisclosed sum a company called 3Tera, a move that industry watchers say will equip the management software maker with tools to offer customers a smoother transition to private and public cloud computing.

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The third in a string of acquisitions CA says target its cloud computing plans, the 3Tera buy would bring to the management software maker its AppLogic suite, which helps customer encapsulate existing applications into containers suited for private and public cloud environments, says Jay Fry, vice president of business unit strategy for CA. CA acquired Cassatt last summer and Oblicore earlier this year, and the company cited cloud ambitions at the time of those separate deals.

"The most interesting thing about 3Tera is their ability to give both service providers and enterprises a way to take existing applications and bring them to private and public cloud environments via an elegant interface. The process used to be done very manually, but AppLogic automates it and smoothes that transition," Fry explains.

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CA executives expect the acquisition to close within "a few weeks, with no particular date set," but industry watchers say this buy will benefit CA on two fronts. For one, it isn't directly about IT management software – yet. 3Tera will help CA get into cloud enablement, opening the door for new cloud and management customers in the enterprise. 3Tera has 20 or so service provider clients.

3Tera's AppLogic will become a platform for CA to sell management tools, not only to service providers but also to their customers," says James Staten, principal analyst at Forrester Research. "CA will start to sell this technology to enterprises that will be ready to convert internal virtual infrastructure into cloud environments, and then following a big degree of integration with CA's existing products, CA will be ready to provide management technology for the cloud, against emerging competitors such as VMware."

There are some questions around 3Teral, however, including the company's limited virtualization platform support and 3Tera's size.

"There are challenges – 3Tera is very small, this market is just emerging and 3Tera only works with Xen today, which is fine for the service provider market, but the enterprise market mostly uses VMware," says Donna Scott, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Vince Re, senior vice president and chief architect at CA, says the company is aware of the virtual infrastructure support limitations and intends to move quickly to add VMware as well as Microsoft's Hyper-V to its list of supported platforms.

"One of the first things we will do is expand [support] to include VMware," Re says.

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