Novell to buy BSM tools vendor Managed Objects

Planned acquisition will put Novell into the business service management market

Novell Inc. today announced that it has agreed to buy Managed Objects Inc., a McLean, Va.-based developer of business service management (BSM) software, for an undisclosed price.

BSM tools are designed to help corporate users map the performance of their IT systems against their day-to-day business processes. The market has attracted the leading vendors of management tools — IBM, Hewlett-Packard, CA and BMC Software — and is also populated by a range of smaller companies, such as Compuware, FireScope and Managed Objects.

Novell already offers software for tasks such as identity, data center and asset management, but not the type of service modeling and analysis tools sold by Managed Objects. Therefore, it doesn't appear that Managed Objects users — which include Fidelity Investments and Verizon — have much to fear in terms of the future of that company's product line, according to Michael Coté, an analyst at consulting firm RedMonk.

"With most acquisitions, the thing you're always worried about is overlapping technology and [the possibility] that something will be eliminated," Coté said. "But Novell bought something they didn't have."

The deal is expected to be completed during the first quarter of Novell's 2009 fiscal year, which starts Nov. 1. As part of its announcement, Novell said it plans to integrate Managed Objects into its Systems and Resource Management business unit.

Novell plans to retain the majority of Managed Objects' employees, said Richard Whitehead, director of marketing for data center solutions at Novell. But, he added, "there's always redundancy that comes into these situations." He declined to say how many workers Managed Objects has now or disclose any other details about the company's size, including its annual revenue.

As for the Managed Objects customer base, "the big message there is that we do not want them to see any change in the support and product road maps they've seen," Whitehead said. "We hope they even see improved capabilities from the acquisition."

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