Configuresoft nicely fills an EMC gap

EMC continues to tease the market with its management software ambitions, taking another step this week to build on its portfolio.

On May 27, EMC announced its intent to acquire Configuresoft, a vendor of server configuration and change management (CCM) software. Forrester views this as a positive development for both companies but we eagerly await more.

While EMC must still make additional developmental moves to graduate into the “anchor” class of management vendors, its M&A activity has proven it is a formidable player in configuration and change management across a number of technology domains.

Obviously, EMC has strength in storage, but it has also become a key vendor in the network domain with its Smarts (2005) and Voyence (2007) acquisitions, and its purchase of nLayers (2006) gives it some of the best visibility into the application domain.

Servers have been a notable gap even though some good “skunk works” monitoring technology was developed within its Smarts team. Server CCM was one big domain missing from the portfolio.

This acquisition does not come as much of a surprise. The two vendors inked an OEM agreement in 2008 that resulted in EMC’s Server Configuration Manager and Configuration Analytics Manager, a re-branding of Configuresoft’s technologies.

By following through with full acquisition, the bond becomes stronger and any vendor risk is much lower. The near-term actual fulfillment of the technology itself should be little changed, however. Over the next several months, EMC must continue to consolidate its many parts into a cohesive CCM strategy and integrated product family. The current tools are each very strong, but the collective suite is still fragmented.

One hopeful step in the direction of consolidation is the CMDB that EMC gained with its Infra (2008) acquisition. Many questions remain about how this CMDB strategy will play out, but EMC has the right parts to assemble into what is potentially one of the strongest CCM families in the industry.

Early indications suggest the EMC people charged with this evolution are on the right philosophical track toward building a properly federated configuration management system (CMS).

We implore EMC’s leadership to give them the power to execute on fulfilling this vision. This includes the freedom to build federation to third party tools, an absolute necessity to lead in the CMS market.

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