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CA fights legacy status with DevOps automation tools buy

CA continues its aggressive path to reinvention with the planned acquisition of Automic, an automation tools vendor, which it will snap up to the tune of $635 million.

CA Technologies is well-known by old-school IT professionals for its mainframe application tools and management platform. Today, the company's strategy for survival is to buy its way out of its legacy status and into the hotshot DevOps market.

The company took another step to that end with a planned acquisition of application release automation player Automic Software Inc., in a deal valued at $635 million.

Automic will join a string of acquisitions that includes another large deal to acquire Rally Software, an Agile project management tool, in May 2015. Under new executive management, in the last few years, CA has also acquired API management player Layer 7 and open source DevOps monitoring tool maker BlazeMeter. Automic brings needed IT operations and infrastructure expertise to CA's DevOps automation tools.

But as CA builds its portfolio and pivots away from familiar territory, it will need to quickly continue developing or acquiring tools relevant to modern developers, said Carl Lehmann, an analyst at 451 Research.

The firm's next initiative will have to focus on container management and orchestration, as Docker's meteoric rise continues, Lehmann said.

"Containers need to be orchestrated, microservices need to be orchestrated and orchestration engines for both are already available," Lehmann said. "They're lagging in that space, and I expect them to be more aggressive there within the next year."

If not an acquisition, CA should support an open source initiative and potentially create a supported product based on it, Lehmann said.

To that end, open source container management tool Kubernetes has burned up the track among forward-thinking IT shops building DevOps pipelines.

Kubernetes seems to be enjoying an adoption wave similar to early days of Linux, according to Elliot Murphy, CEO of Kindly Ops LLC, a managed DevOps service in Portland, Maine. He said, at a recent event, SAP presented on running hybrid systems across public clouds and private data centers using Kubernetes.

Meanwhile, it was inevitable that the market for DevOps automation tools would see a consolidation as the market matures, added Zubin Irani, CEO of cPrime Inc., an Agile software development consulting firm in San Francisco.

"Organizations are seeking solutions that don't require a massively broad set of tools that each must be separately licensed, managed and maintained," Irani said, adding that application release automation is a relatively new market segment that he expects to grow quickly over the next few years.

Analysts said Automic has found its way into traditional enterprises, which are CA's bread and butter, and not necessarily the most aggressive companies when it comes to technology adoption, which includes new technological categories, such as DevOps automation tools.   

"CA seems legacy to me," Murphy said. "But there is a lot of code running in legacy companies."

Beth Pariseau is senior news writer for TechTarget's Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. Write to her at bpariseau@techtarget.com or follow @PariseauTT on Twitter.

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