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IBM steps up systems management portfolio with acquisition

Big Blue beefed up its systems management portfolio this week by acquiring Collation, an application mapping software company.

IBM last week acquired software company Collation and plans to integrate the company's existing products into IBM's Tivoli family of systems management software by June 2006.

Collation, a Redwood City, Calif.-based configuration management and application mapping software firm, develops software that automatically captures information about IT resources, such as servers, applications and databases, and displays how those layers are configured on a detailed map. Collation said its tools provide IT staffs with a better understanding of the impact of changes -- such as how a security patch can trigger a "domino effect" of unexpected problems -- and shrinks the time it takes to discover and correct a problem.

Collation, a former IBM business partner that worked with Big Blue for the past year to integrate its applications into IBM's next generation Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database, is the ninth company purchased by Big Blue's software business in 2005.

Among IBM's other notable acquisitions in the past 18 months designed to improve the Tivoli brand include Meiosys, a privately held virtualization software company based in Palo Alto, Calif., and mainframe management software firm Candle Corp.

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The Collation acquisition is IBM's latest push into the systems management market, a segment of the industry Big Blue sees as on the rise. According to Gartner Inc., IBM is Number 1 in market share for enterprise systems management software.

Gartner said license revenue for the worldwide enterprise management software market grew 11% from 2003 to 2004, from $5.6 billion to $6.2 billion, and the firm believes this market will reach $7.4 billion in 2008.

Susan Blocher, IBM's director of marketing for the Tivoli line, said even though Collation is a relatively small company, Big Blue is very excited about bringing its products into the fold.

"Application discovery mapping is one of those core ingredients required for customers to efficiently and effectively deliver IT services to their business," Blocher said. "It's tough to keep track of all the resources, applications and software that are not only in their central data center but extended across multiple data centers … and when they make any kind of change, it's really tough for them to understand the impact that change has on the rest of their environment. They fix it in one place and break it in another."

Collation software allows data center managers to monitor the availability of their systems when making changes so that applications remain up-and-running around the clock. It also allows managers to see how technology supports business processes, such as order entry, supply chain and enterprise resource management, and reduces the time it takes to discover and correct a problem within their system.

Blocher said Collation software eliminates the arduous task of manually mapping and defining an IT infrastructure.

"That map is the automated view of everything in the IT infrastructure," Blocher said. "It saves them a tremendous amount of manual work and effort … now all they have to do is use this tool. "

Collation's customers include Fidelity Investments, The World Bank, FedEx, McKinsey & Co., SanDisk, Motorola and the New York City Police Department.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Luke Meredith, News Writer

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