Mergers and acquisitions on the management front, Part 1

* A look back at some of the acquisition moves BMC and CA made 2007

Whether it is EMC buying BMC or HP setting its sights on Symantec, the rumor mill is ripe with talk of a major acquisition involving one or more of the big four management vendors in 2008.

Fueling the gossip is the reality that with more than one hypervisor on the market this year -- VMware will face competition from Sun, Oracle and Microsoft -- management will be the most sought-after capability among vendors. Some industry watchers are even speculating that Microsoft -- poised to infiltrate the big four vendors in the management market if and when its hypervisor technology takes off -- will buy Citrix, which picked up open source virtualization vendor XenSource in 2007.

With talk of one of the leading management software makers potentially being acquired, I wanted to look back at some of the acquisition moves BMC, CA, HP and IBM separately made in the past 12 months to build up their product suites.

BMC

BMC used 2007 to make a flurry of acquisitions that plugged holes in the vendor's product suite. In June, BMC announced it acquired privately held software maker ProactiveNet for an undisclosed amount. BMC said at the time that the buy would augment its business-service management products because ProactiveNet's technology can detect potential problems. ProactiveNet software uses statistical analysis to determine the normal operating behavior of networks, applications and servers.

BMC followed up that buy with the July purchase of run-book automation vendor RealOps, also for an undisclosed amount. BMC officials said RealOps automation technology would extend BMC’s Remedy IT-process automation platform and tie into BMC’s Atrium configuration management database.

The company also acquired network configuration management capabilities with its October buy of Emprisa Networks. The acquisition, BMC officials said, will enable BMC to offer its customers automated network device configuration capabilities with software that integrates into other BMC offerings.

CA

CA made fewer acquisition-related headlines in 2007 as the company seemed to be working on improving its business from the inside out. The company is working on turning its business around by simplifying its product suites for customers and delivering its technology in such a way that it addresses specific pain points for enterprise customers.

In the past year, company President and CEO John Swainson described CA's performance financially as solid and reaffirmed the vendor's commitment to restructuring. "Over the last 12 months, we have refreshed virtually all our major product lines," Swainson said in a 2007 release.

Next time, I'll take a look back at the buying binges of market leaders HP and IBM.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.