IBM's Green Hat Buy Bolsters Big Blue's Cloud Testing

IBM announced an agreement to acquire Green Hat, a maker of cloud-based software testing solutions a move that bolsters IBM's already significant development and test cloud capabilities.

IBM has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Green Hat, a maker of software quality and testing solutions for the cloud and other environments.

IBM's pending acquisition of Green Hat will give Big Blue additional capabilities to empower customers with cloud-based software testing. IBM already offers development and test cloud solutions for its customers and this move bolsters IBM's position. Announced on Jan. 4, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2012 and Green Hat will become part of IBM Rational.

"We expect this asset will prove strategic to IBM in helping customers reduce software testing costs which can sometimes exceed 50 percent of overall software development expenses," said Brian Marshall, IT hardware and data networking analyst at International Strategy & Investment Group.

"This acquisition extends IBM's leadership in driving business agility and software quality by changing the way enterprises can manage software development cost, test cycle time and risk," said Kristof Kloeckner, general manager of IBM Rational, in a statement. "Together, we offer the most complete solution available today for agile software development and testing, with flexible options such as the cloud. Green Hat's application virtualization capabilities will help our customers accelerate their delivery of business critical software."

Of the acquisition, Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT and close IBM watcher, said, "This should be good news for enterprise customers with interests or investments in application development-which is to say most if not all of them. In addition, I expect Green Hat will help IBM enhance its own considerable development efforts."

Founded in 1996, Green Hat is jointly headquartered in London, England, and Wilmington, Del. Green Hat helps customers improve the quality of software applications by enabling developers to leverage cloud computing technologies to conduct testing on a software application prior to its delivery.

To run simulation testing on a software program, a development team must construct an actual testing lab made up of both hardware and software. This is time consuming, labor intensive and costly. By using Green Hat's solutions, a virtual test environment can be set up in a matter of minutes versus weeks, and for a fraction of the cost.

According to recent research by industry sources and the National Institute of Standards and technology (NIST), software testing represents more than 50 percent of overall development costs, and testing teams often spend upwards of 30 percent of their time managing the complexity of the test environment. Green Hat creates a virtual environment that simulates a wide range of IT infrastructure elements, without the constraints of hardware or software services. This continuous test environment enables developers and QA professionals to test software earlier and more frequently throughout the software development lifecycle, IBM said.

"IBM's announcement to acquire Green Hat will complement its existing application lifecycle management tools portfolio in providing a capability to rapidly set up test labs for complex heterogeneous systems spanning mainframe to distributed environments, including cloud and mobile," said Michael Azoff, principal analyst at Ovum. "Green Hat provides a virtualized solution to this complexity that allows individual virtualized components to be switched in turn to their live counterparts and for effective systems testing to be performed."

With Green Hat combined with the IBM Rational Solution IBM will help customers maximize continuous integration of an application, including creating virtual protocols, message formats, services, customization and engagement with third-party software, IBM said. Development teams can avoid scrap and rework and dramatically reduce costly delays while achieving greater business agility and accelerating the delivery of software applications.

"We've been focused on transforming our customers' software development processes through innovative testing and quality improvements," said Peter Cole, CEO of Green Hat, in a statement. "We are looking forward to bringing Green Hat's innovative application virtualization and continuous integration testing expertise to IBM customers who have a growing business need to better manage their complex testing environments."

The Green Hat software testing solutions also will be offered through IBM Global Business Services' Application Management Services (AMS). IBM AMS provides strategy, design, implementation, testing and managed services for application virtualization to accelerate customer results.

"Green Hat's software testing solutions enable developers to quickly create virtual test environments in minutes to run simulations rather than set up new hardware and software labs," ISI's Marshall said. "Green Hat is already an IBM partner (as well as ORCL and TIBX partner) and its solutions will complement IBM's Rational product line which helps manage the software development lifecycle from design through testing. We believe IBM is among the best in large-cap technology at building software capabilities through acquisition and has been increasing its efforts in recent months (e.g., i2, Algorithmics, Q1 Labs, DemandTec, Emptoris, etc.)."

"The drive toward agile development with higher frequency of testing and also testing earlier in the lifecycle is producing huge pressures on QA," added Azoff. "Green Hat reduces the time to set up, run, and return back to neutral test labs and removes impediments to agile processes in mission-critical, large scale projects."

Green Hat's automated testing technology is used throughout the company's Global 2000 customer base. Green Hat makes automated testing simple for complex systems relying on cloud, Web services, messaging, Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), Business Process Management (BPM), Complex Event Processing (CEP), SAP and other distributed technologies. Their diverse range of customers includes representation in financial services, telecommunications, health care, transportation and the energy industry.