Novell to Buy XenSource? Altiris?

A former Novell executive thinks Novell may be getting ready to acquire a virtualization company. (LinuxWatch)

Matt Asay, formerly the man in charge of Novells Linux and open-source strategy, thinks that Novell may be getting ready to buy up Altiris or XenSource sometime soon.

In his blog, AC/OS, Asay wrote on Jan. 3 that "Word on the street is that the company has $200M or so burning a hole in its pocket, with Altiris and XenSource as potential acquisition candidates."

"Both deals could make sense, albeit for very different reasons" to Asay. "Altiris had a small profit in 2005, and will improve on that in 2006. Its pricier ($750M market cap), but is local to Novells Utah office (makes geographic sense) but has nice overlap with Novells ZENworks product line."

What might really make Altiris Inc. interesting to Novell probably wouldnt be its server and service management programs, but its virtualization solution: Altiris Software Virtualization Solution. This is a well-regarded virtualization manager that does an excellent job of managing multiple virtual applications.

Altiris also has a close partnership with VMware Inc., perhaps the leading virtualization company today.

The Salt Lake City, Utah-based company recently released improvements to its virtual server deployment capability for VMware ESX. Altiris is also a member of the VMware-led Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Alliance. This group, with its focus on virtual desktops, could help Novell with thin-client desktop customers.

So to Asay, "Novell could get a profitable company and roll up more of the systems management market with a nice virtualization bonus. That deal makes sense, though its pricey."

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