Continuing its own trend to buy instead of build technology, IBM Wednesday announced it had acquired CIMS Lab, which makes software that tracks the usage of computing resources in virtualized technology environments.With its twelfth software acquisition since the start of 2005, IBM will pick up more management tools for its Tivoli division as well as round out its virtualization offerings. The deal, of which financial details were not disclosed, will equip IBM with technology to gather data about IT resource usage from multiple sources, such as servers, storage, networks, databases, applications and operating systems, and attach a financial value to it.The CIMS Lab technology collects the data and is able to associate a cost with it, IBM says. According to an IBM press release, the CIMS Lab software "can help companies more easily understand how their technology resources are being consumed" specifically across virtualized environments.CIMS Lab operations, in Roseville, Calif., will be integrated into IBM's Tivoli division, under the direction of Al Zollar, general manager. CIMS Lab software will be integrated within IBM Tivoli's IT service management portfolio to add an accounting and chargeback offering for Big Blue. HP acquired similar technology with its buy of Peregrine Systems last year, and CA in November detailed how it would add financial and accounting features to its Asset Management 11 software."Keeping tabs on IT costs is daunting for any organization facing a maze of platforms and systems that traditionally have been tracked separately and manually," Zollar said in a press release. "CIMS Lab software helps companies take control of their IT costs \u2013 a key advantage of IT service management.\u201dCIMS Lab technology will also be put to use in IBM's virtualization products. IDC estimates spending on virtualization will grow to nearly $15 billion worldwide by 2009. IBM says the technology will be incorporated across IBM's software, hardware and services, with immediate plans to ship CIMS Lab with IBM Director, "complementing the virtualization capabilities of xSeries eServers and pSeries eServers."CIMS Lab has more than 170 customers worldwide, and IBM said it plans to sell CIMS Lab software products through IBM's worldwide sales channels and IBM Business Partners.