Microsoft Acquires AVIcode for Cloud-Performance Monitoring

Microsoft acquires AVIcode to become its secret weapon in cloud application performance monitoring.

BALTIMORE-Microsoft has acquired AVIcode, a software firm specializing in .NET APM (application performance monitoring).

The deal is a boon to both companies, as Microsoft gains solid technology to help take customers more confidently to the cloud, and AVIcode gets what it has been seeking from day one-an opportunity to see its technology gain traction in a high-visibility, high-volume situation. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

AVIcode's management couldn't be happier, particularly my Chesapeake Bay crab-cracking pal, Mike Curreri, president and CEO of the Baltimore-based company. In an Oct. 6 blog post, he said: "It is with great pleasure that I announce AVIcode Inc. has today been acquired by Microsoft. Both AVIcode and Microsoft share a common vision about the evolution of application performance management and monitoring and the ever- growing need for organizations to gain 360-degree visibility into both application behavior and user experience."

Meanwhile,Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of the Management and Security Division at Microsoft, in his own Oct. 6 post, said, AVIcode will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft, with the software being delivered through the System Center product family.

I'm not one to say I told you so, but I once called AVIcode Microsoft's "secret weapon" for its DSI (Dynamic Systems Initiative). That was five years ago. This acquisition signals Microsoft's acknowledgement of that claim.

Anderson also acknowledges that Microsoft has been using the AVIcode technology in its own data center operations.

Anderson said in his post that as Microsoft has been moving more of its solutions in the past year to be delivered as SAAS (software as a service) and bring Windows Azure (PAAS, or platform as a service) online, it has seen the need to extend its monitoring capabilities in the following ways:

  • to enable an understanding of how end-users experience an application's performance and quality;
  • to trace the performance of critical business transactions; and
  • to gain insight into the relationship of the hardware and software components of a distributed application or service.

AVIcode has developed solutions that deliver these enhanced scenarios-all integrated with System Center Operations Manager. We have been using the AVIcode solution in conjunction with Operations Manager in our data centers on services such as Xbox Live for a number of years."

Moreover, Anderson added, "As more and more applications move to run from the cloud, organizations will want to have access to the capabilities that AVIcode delivers-enabling organizations to gain a much deeper understanding of the actual end-user experience, with the details to 1) understand when performance and availability is not at the desired service level; and 2) quickly diagnose where the root issues are that lead to latency within the service, resulting in a poor performance experience for the end-users."

Curreri said: "With AVIcode's technology, thousands of users worldwide have dramatically reduced the time required to diagnose and resolve application problems. AVIcode's real-time detection, alerting and root-cause diagnosis capabilities-from both the server and end-user perspective-are unmatched, and when paired with a systems management solution like Microsoft System Center Operations Manager, deliver unsurpassed visibility into the entire application environment, from the end-user, across application tiers and back."

Curreri and Anderson agree that the combination of Microsoft's System Center Operations Manager and AVIcode's technology enables organizations to get a 360-degree view of their service. And this view is "independent of where the service is hosted, whether a data center/cloud, in a partner's hosted data center/cloud, or from a public cloud solution such as Windows Azure," Anderson said. "This integrated solution gives a comprehensive inside-out and outside-in view of the service-of all the services your end-users are using independent of where the service is running."

Anderson said Microsoft will begin integrating the AVIcode technologies into the System Center fold over time, and Microsoft will soon deliver a roadmap. More information on the deal can be found on the Microsoft Pathways site.

"A key concept at issue here is that as the world moves more and more to the cloud, application performance monitoring becomes more critical," Curreri told eWEEK in an interview. "The cloud can't work without strong APM."

While the financial details were not disclosed, Curreri said the deal was a "technology and talent acquisition." AVIcode maintains two operations: its Baltimore headquarters and a development center in St. Petersburg, Russia. The development team in Russia will likely move to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash. However, final details of how personnel issues will shake out have yet to be determined.

"We've always been very attached at the hip to Microsoft," Curreri told eWEEK.

Although AVIcode is a relatively small company, this acquisition has to be strategic for Microsoft, as it is only the fifth acquisition the software giant has made in the last 22 months, the company said. And this is the first acquisition Microsoft has announced in 2010, though the company has quietly made others.

Hats off to Mike Curreri and his crew. The next crab-cracking outing is on me. But, wait, you just sold the company to Microsoft.