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IBM buys BigFix for data centre patching

Big Blue patched

By John E Dunn, TechWorld
July 02, 2010 10:13 AM ET

TechWorld - IBM is to further bulk out its profitable software division with the acquisition of privately-held patching company, BigFix.

The total size of the acquisition has not been made public officially, but Bloomberg quoted an un-named source as stating it to be around $400 million (£268 million) for the 200-person, 700 customer company.

IBM being IBM the motivation for the buy is automated mass patching from the data centre for a wide range of business devices. IBM has had a relationship with BigFix since 2009 when it started integrating the patching into its own services.

The software will sit with IBM's current data centre services and software where it will, according to the official release,"identify which devices are not in compliance with corporate IT policies and recommend security fixes and timely software updates to 500,000 machines in a matter of minutes."

Until getting close to IBM, BigFix expended some effort in trying to find a model that could battle declining margins in standalone patching. Price was an initial ploy, taking on rivals Shavlik and Lumension Security (formerly PatchLink). Certainly, the future of enterprise patching is as an integrated service within a wider suite of security applications. Companies selling patching on its own are becoming rarer.

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