Opsware set to buy Creekpath Systems

Company to add storage management technology to its data center automation product portfolio.

Opsware Tuesday announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire storage management vendor Creekpath Systems for about $10 million in a deal expected to close early next month.

Opsware will "focus 100% on integrating" Creekpath's technology with Opsware's flagship systems automation software to develop a new product to manage heterogeneous storage environments. Data center automation vendor Opsware, which evolved out of Loudcloud's managed services business, offers products that automate the process of provisioning, configuring and managing data center systems with its Server Automation System (SAS). In 2004, Opsware acquired Rendition Networks and made its TrueControl technology the basis for Opsware Network Automation System (NAS), which performs network device change and configuration management functions.

Now Opsware says Creekpath's technology, available as its Acuity product, will serve as the foundation for Opsware Application Storage Automation System, a new product scheduled to be available in the first half of calendar 2007. The company will build its Application Storage Automation System on Opsware SAS, making the products fully integrated, but offer the storage management capabilities stand-alone as well.

Opsware executives say the storage management technology will round out the company's data center automation suite, and provide Opsware with all of the fundamentals needed to manage today's heterogeneous data center environments. Also considering the highly manual and costly nature of storage management, Opsware executives expect the product to do well with existing customers following its release next year.

"With storage management, we have reached a milestone," said Ben Horowitz, CEO of Opsware, on a conference call. "Existing management tools are designed to deal with servers and storage by themselves. We are going to manage storage from the application perspective, not just from an infrastructure perspective."

Horowitz said competitive stand-alone storage offerings, perhaps from EMC or Veritas (acquired by Symantec) will not be able to compete with an integrated automation system that can also address heterogeneous server and network devices. The company says the Opsware Application Storage Automation System goes beyond storage resource management capabilities to provide "advanced storage management from the perspective of storage allocation by application as well as application change management." Opsware also added the ability to discover application topologies and map application dependencies on data center resources with its Opsware Visual Application Manager earlier this year.

“Storage automation represents another opportunity for us to advance our lead in data center automation,” Horowitz said in a company press release. “This acquisition will allow us to deliver the market’s first application storage automation solution and provides us with the final of the three fundamental components required for comprehensive data center automation: servers, networks and storage.”

Among the capabilities Opsware says its storage management product will provide are the ability to map dependencies from application to server to storage, to manage storage usage by server and application; to identify the impact of storage changes on applications and servers; to audit the application infrastructure through servers and storage; to boot from SANs and install software on a NAS or a SAN; and the ability to provision and manage software in virtual environments.

Opsware does not intend to resell Acuity. It is closing Creekpath's Boulder, Colo., offices and moving 10 key engineers to Opsware's Redmond, Wash., facilities. Creekpath's management team will not be joining Opsware. Under the terms of the agreement, Opsware will pay approximately $10 million in cash, with a maximum potential earnout of an additional $5 million in cash.

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