IT management vendors kick off 2010 with cloud-related acquisitions

Keeping pace with a 2009 trend, BMC and CA purchase technology in 2010 that the management software makers say will help them extend existing capabilities to monitor cloud services.

Acquisition news from BMC and CA in January points to an ongoing trend among IT management software makers hoping in 2010 to capture the capabilities to manage applications and services in cloud computing environments.

IT management software makers realize that the hype around cloud computing could become more of a reality in 2010 so they are stocking up on application and service monitoring capabilities that would carry their product suites into the cloud.

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In January, BMC announced it had acquired Phurnace Software for an undisclosed sum. BMC also acquired Tideway in fall 2009 to augment its application management portfolio with Tideway’s technology that discovers applications and related components and builds a map of the application infrastructure. BMC says it will incorporate the Phurnace technology into its BMC BladeLogic Server Automation Suite, at first selling and supporting the acquired products as BMC BladeLogic Application Release Automation. The technology, according to the vendors, would automate the application deployment process to reduce errors and outages associated with manual or script-based processes.

Phurnace, similar to competitors rPath and FastScale (acquired last year by management market contender EMC), automate labor-intensive processes required for application configuration and provisioning in virtual and cloud environments. According to industry watchers, this type of release management software also includes the process of adding changes to applications or updating them with the most recent version on large-scale distributions, processes that in large physical, virtual and cloud environments requires automation.

“Release management technology is essentially software distribution tools on steroids. The software takes applications from development and test environments and moves them into operations,” says Glenn O’Donnell, a senior analyst with Forrester Research. “It enables IT to decide when and to what environments to make updates or to distribute only the chunks of code that have been changed. That process used to be once every few months for many organizations, but now it is more common to happen more than once per week. Tracking and controlling that process has hit a crescendo, and we are seeing a lot of interest in the technology now.”

Separately, CA announced this week it had acquired service-level management software market Oblicore. CA, which acquired Cassatt and NetQoS in 2009, kicked off 2010 with a purchase that could help the vendor extends its existing management capabilities into cloud computing environments. Oblicore, known for its service-level management technology, could help CA provide customers with visibility into IT services into cloud computing environments, CA says.

“Oblicore’s business-centric approach gives enterprises and service providers better understanding and control over the quality and value of their IT service portfolio,” said Ajei Gopal, executive vice president of CA’s Products and Technology Group, in a statement. “With Oblicore and the recent acquisitions of NetQoS and Cassatt, CA is leaping ahead in our ability to help customers optimize IT for better business results and capitalize on the emerging cloud computing opportunity.”

Both buys follow on Microsoft’s purchase of automation software maker Opalis. According to a Network World article reported by Senior Editor John Fontana, the Opalis purchase would enable Microsoft to integrate its System Center portfolio with software from the likes of BMC, CA, HP and IBM as well as extend automation capabilities across these platforms.

Todd DeLaughter, president and CEO of Opalis, is an industry veteran who ran HP's OpenView business unit for four years. According to the article, DeLaughter wrote on his blog, "Automated response is a core building block for the future of IT -- closed loop remediation of IT issues. It also happens to be the foundation for the automation necessary to deliver cloud computing."

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