CA builds its data center automation empire

CA’s Cassatt purchase is the latest automation technology buy for the software maker.

CA buys for an undisclosed sum data center automation and cloud management technology from Cassatt, which potentially escaped bankruptcy by being acquired.

CA this week announced it had acquired the intellectual property assets from data center automation vendor Cassatt. The deal, which potentially saved Cassatt from bankruptcy, could give CA an edge when it comes to automation and cloud management capabilities, industry watchers say. 

The acquisition, the terms of which were undisclosed, involves CA buying the intellectual property assets from Cassatt and bringing on board several members of Cassatt’s executive and technical teams. CA Chief Architect Don Ferguson says Cassatt's key value is policy-based intelligence that can help IT managers make decisions about resource allocation and data center optimization.

"Cassatt has innovative technology for doing analysis and planning in semi-real time, which means you don't have to go offline and perform extensive capacity planning. It has a policy brain for building the change process and figuring what the change could be online,” Ferguson says.

Industry watchers say Cassatt's technology is strong, but with a weak market overall, acquisition might have been the best exit strategy for the struggling start-up

"As a small company like Cassatt, if you can't get sales deals signed then you can get pretty desperate -- and CA actually hangs onto their acquired tech people these days,” says Jasmine Noel, co-founder and principal analyst at Ptak, Noel and Associates.

It remains to be seen how CA will handle the acquisition and if the technology will become integrated across CA’s product portfolio or sold stand-alone. The company quietly acquired IT process automation vendor Optinuity in October 2008 and partnered with Opalis to develop some of CA’s own data center automation products. Now with Cassatt also in house, CA could take the lead in automation technology among competitive management software makers, analysts speculate.

“CA was already a leading workload automation solution supplier with CA-7 and Autosys, and it seems to have found a better synergy between its internal expertise and Optinuity's technology than it did with Opalis, with which it had previously partnered for process automation,” wrote Jean-Pierre Garbani in a Forrester Research report. 

And Cassatt’s technology could broaden CA’s automation capabilities beyond the traditional data center into the cloud, Noel adds.

"The [Cassatt] technical team has been working at the cloud management problem for some time now. CA can use that experience particularly in building out pre-packaged workflows for their solutions, so that their customers can benefit from those lessons learned,” she says.

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