Network World's Network/Systems Management Newsletter, 07/23/07

BMC makes its move into IT process automation

By Denise Dubie

BMC last week announced it had acquired IT process automation vendor RealOps, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Recently I detailed the pressing need for run-book, IT process and operations automation software in a series of stories, which also featured a list of 10 automation companies to watch in that market -- including RealOps.

And industry watchers have been speculating as to when the big four management vendors would start acquiring smaller vendors such as RealOps, OpTier, Opalis and Optinuity to bring the automation features in house.

"The next big step for the big four management vendors is a move into automation in the areas of active configuration management and dynamic resource allocation. It will be a big disruptive play and a defining technology when they move into automation technologies," says Will Cappelli, a research vice president at Gartner. "It will be more of a challenge for BMC and CA, than HP and IBM because they have servers and storage technologies from which they can incrementally grow. BMC and CA will have to almost spring into the market with a fully shaped technology through acquisition."

Data center automation vendor Opsware has already picked up iConclude for such purposes, and now BMC is the first of its market-leading management competitors to take the IT process automation plunge. The financial details of the deal were undisclosed and analysts say the deal is small, but the technology gain is significant for BMC.

"It's a small, incremental deal for BMC customers who are looking to automate IT operations tasks within the BMC portfolio," says Stephen Elliot, a research manager at IDC. "This is a step forward in technology for BMC customers; task automation is a growing requirement for IT organizations to drive down costs. We expect to see more deals in this area over the next year."

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