Novell added a major piece to its data center management software portfolio Oct. 15 when it acquired privately held Managed Objects. Terms of the deal were not made available.
Managed Objects, which has been in business in the Washington, D.C., area since 1997, makes business service management software. Novell develops open-source software that manages various kinds of IT systems.
The key technology that Novell is picking up through the acquisition is the company's CMDB (configuration management database), which is becoming a trendy item for IT companies to have in their tool chests because it brings order and control to rapidly changing data center environments.
A CMDB is a repository of information related to all the components of an IT system. It is used as a central engine for IT managers to configure and manage a data center or IT system. An entire setup can cost in the mid-to-high six figures or more, depending on the size of the IT structure as well as all the other components that need to be in place that work with the database.
The upfront cost of a federated CMDB can be steep, but the long-term ROI (return on investment) can be an attractive selling point to an enterprise. Only a few dozen companies provide CMDBs, with BMC Software's Atrium probably the best known in the market.
"The CMDB is [Managed Objects'] main product, but they also have a whole way of taking all the [data center] information from various systems and exposing that in a dashboard to provide that single view into your data center or IT systems," Richard Whitehead, Novell's director of marketing for data center solutions, told me.
Novell and Managed Objects have partnered in the past, mostly in joint sales engagements alongside the same systems integrators and resellers, Whitehead said. Managed Objects has its own direct and indirect sales force and services more than 300 Global 2000 customers, including Fujitsu and Accenture, Whitehead said.
There are some specific areas in which Novell wants to invest to build out its capabilities, Whitehead said. The federated CMDB arena can now be checked off the list.
Novell acquired virtualization management software and services provider Platespin for $205 million and open-source team collaboration software provider SiteScape-founder of the ICEcore open-source collaboration project-last February in its quest to build up its Web 2.0 tools catalog.
"This [Managed Objects] deal now fills out the rest of what we need to provide the 'single view,'" Whitehead said, "along with that federated CMDB to gather up all the information.
"As you wrote in your recent piece on 'The Dark Side of Virtualization,' having that single view into what's happening in the data center is critical, especially when you're looking at both physical and virtual environments."