Computer Associates Deals for Miramars Migration Technology

Computer Associates on Thursday announced a deal for Windows migration tools provider Miramar Systems. The move seals CA's hold on the Desktop DNA technology.

Computer Associates International Inc. on Thursday announced that it as acquired Windows migration tools provider Miramar Systems Inc. for an undisclosed amount of cash.

CA chose to acquire Miramar, with which it had a partnership, to "own and control" the patented technology in Miramars Desktop DNA migration software, according to Allan Andersen, director of product management for CAs Unicenter in Islandia, NY.

The core technology in Desktop DNA automates the migration of desktop personalities—data, e-mail address books, network and printer connections and other customized settings and configurations. The software is also OEMed by a handful of CAs competitors, including Novell Inc. and now Hewlett-Packard Co. through its Novadigm acquisition. Andersen said the company intends to preserve Miramars partnerships, despite the competition.

Whether those partners choose to stick with the Miramar technology is now, however, an open question.

"Weve seen some vendors build their own migration components (like [LANDesk Group Ltd.s] LANDesk) and would not be surprised if others did the same as well," said analyst Michael Silver, vice president at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn. "This is really a function that is pretty basic to desktop management and OS deployment. There are other relatively small companies in this market and we would not be surprised to see further consolidation," he added.

Mirimars scaleable technology, which has been deployed at Intel to support migrations for 100,000 desktops, fills in a missing piece of CAs desktop management portfolio.

"[Desktop DNA] really complements our product offerings," Andersen said. "We do operating system installations and ongoing software distributions of updates and patches, inventory, usage analysis on desktops, remote control, security including virus [protection] and vulnerability [assessment]. And we do backup of all data. When something crashes we can put the data back and now also the configurations and personalities to get back up and running quickly."

Executives of Miramar, a privately-held company based in Santa Barbara, Calif., saw the acquisition as a means to extend the reach of the its technology beyond what the company could achieve on its own.

"Adding CAs reach and breadth to the product line makes Desktop DNA a viable option for the globe," said Michael Walker, vice president of marketing at the 35-person company.

CA, which had already completed some level of integration with Desktop DNA through its partnership, intends to broaden the products appeal to a wider audience.

"There is potential to move this to other platforms such as Unix and Linux," said Andersen, who characterized it as a "strong and unique" technology acquisition. "We are going to invest lot of money in this product. Its not a technology we bought to sell to our installed base," he said.

Miramar founders will remain with the company as will most of the 35 employees at the Southern California company, he said.

Large enterprise systems management players as well as large desktop software providers have moved into the desktop management arena in recent months through acquisitions, as enterprises look to reduce total cost of ownership for desktops and laptops.

For example, HP in February announced its plans to acquire software distribution and change management provider Novadigm Inc. as well as automation provider Consera Software.

In a separate announcement, HP on Thursday acquired TruLogica Inc., a Dallas user-provisioning software provider.

Meanwhile, Symantec acquired software distribution provider On Technology in February, and acquired PowerQuest Inc. in December.

CA believes the market is primed for updating aging PCs and laptops after years of tightened IT budgets. "Between 70 to 80 percent of all new PCs being bought are replacement PCs," said Andersen. "It is going to be a big market," he added.

/zimages/1/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms Enterprise Applications Center at for the latest news, reviews, analysis and opinion about productivity and business solutions. Be sure to add our enterprise applications news feed to your RSS newsreader or My Yahoo page: /zimages/1/19420.gif