Oracle to acquire management player mValent

Oracle to integrate application configuration management technology into its own Enterprise Manager product

Oracle enters into an agreement to acquire management software maker mValent and incorporate the latter's application configuration management technology into its own Enterprise Manager product.

Oracle this week announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire management software maker mValent for an undisclosed amount.

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Oracle, which industry watchers have speculated will take a larger stake in management technology, will use mValent's products to offer customers the ability to collect, compare and reconcile configuration information. Oracle will integrate mValent technology into its Enterprise Manager product, which will enable the company to enhance root-cause analysis capabilities and automate remediation of problems kicked off by a configuration change, Oracle says.

"Effective application configuration management is increasingly important as businesses look to improve operating efficiencies," said Richard Sarwal, senior vice president, Oracle Applications and Systems Management, in a company statement. "This acquisition is consistent with Oracle’s strategy for delivering cost-effective solutions for managing applications that enable customers to adopt new, innovative technology with reduced risk."

MValent, a private company headquartered in Waltham, Mass., provides with its Integrity platform features management market leaders such as BMC, CA, HP and IBM incorporate into their product suites. With such capabilities under its purview, Oracle can broaden its Enterprise Manager with more automated features and help customers more easily fix problems and maintain compliance, industry watchers say.

"mValent is more than just reporting -- it provides some rich automation capabilities that can remediate problem configurations when they are detected," says Andi Mann, research director with Enterprise Management Associates. "So this works really well to maintain configurations in what can be very complex Oracle apps, to ensure audit and compliance -- which is especially important for Oracle's financial applications, and again, a very organic fit for Oracle."

Despite listing customers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield Michigan, State Street and Direct TV, niche player mValent could have been challenged competing against management heavyweights like BMC and HP, who separately acquired BladeLogic and Opsware to gain similar capabilities in their product portfolio.

"Given the timing, you would have to assume this was a good deal for Oracle. Certainly mValent has had a difficult time competing against some larger, stronger, and more focused competitors -- both in the change and configuration management (CCM) niche (like Tripwire), and against broader data center automation suites, especially from BMC and HP. So no doubt it was probably a good value proposition for Oracle," Mann adds.

Oracle expects the deal to close in the first half of 2009, and until then, the two companies will remain separate.

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