The small, privately held Rembo Technology, based in Geneva, Switzerland, will extend IBMs Virtualization Engine product portfolio, bringing to it the ability to quickly deploy new operating system images to virtual machines.
"Combined with Tivoli Provisioning Manager, you can create a virtual machine in an automated way, deploy that OS to it or clone an OS on a virtual machine and replicate it many times," said Shawn Jaques, marketing manager for provisioning software at IBM in Austin, Texas.
IBM has already done some integration work between Rembo products and the Tivoli Provisioning Manager.
IBM pursued Rembo because its products have "features other Intel boot servers dont have," said Jaques.
"They are very educated and knowledgeable in this area," he added.
Rembo competes primarily with vendors such as Altiris, and with Microsofts Automated Deployment Services offering.
Although it also competes with several other software distribution vendors including HP, CA and BMC Software, "a lot of the software distribution vendors will be able to install an OS on a bare metal server, but they wont be able to capture a cloned image. The way they capture an image is at a file level, rather than block level. They only deploy the files that have changed," said Jaques.
While Rembo has had a stronger presence in Europe, it does have U.S. customers primarily in government and university settings.
University customers in particular use Rembos software to protect machines used by multiple students in a lab by automatically deleting entire operating systems and personal data after each use and then reinstalling clean software.
IBM would not disclose the price it agreed to pay for Rembo, which has some 800 customers worldwide and 12 employees.
IBM expects the deal to close in the second quarter.
Rembos two co-founders, David Clerc and Marc Vuilleumier Stuckelberg, will become IBM employees.
Once the acquisition is closed, Rembo will become a part of the Tivoli division under General Manager Al Zollar.
IBM intends to integrate Rembos Auto-Deploy and Toolkit products with its Tivoli Provisioning Manager and IBM Director software.