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Avocent Continues to Grow via Acquisitions

Avocent recently announced it had signed deals to acquire two companies, both of which the management software vendor says will help customers better manage IT operations from the desktop to the data center.

These two acquisitions will continue Avocent's work to ramp up its product portfolio through technology buys. The first deal, which closed this month, has Avocent buying U.K.-based Touchpaper Group Limited for about $45 million. Avocent officials say the Touchpaper buy will give Avocent IT business management technology as well as expertise by way of a professional services business.

"Touchpaper falls squarely into the incident and problem management arena that is laid out in ITIL. It will enable us to extend our reach even more deeply into the data center and broaden our desktop skills as well," says Ben Grimes, CTO of Avocent. " U.S. companies are adopting ITIL-like processes more and more. This acquisition will help drive more rigor around process and automation."

Avocent had an existing relationship with Touchpaper; LANDesk (acquired by Avocent in 2006) resells Touchpaper service desk technology as a product. Touchpaper has about 200 employees and Avocent executives say they are working to determine the best ways to integrate the teams.

"We saw the need to own the technology rather than just license it," says Ed Harper, Avocent CEO. "This deal gives us an opportunity to slightly change the characteristics of the product to address the U.S. customer base."

In a separate deal also set to close this quarter, Avocent inked a deal to acquire Ergo 2000 for approximately $34 million. Ergo has about 35 employees and is based in Fullerton, Calif. The company focused primarily on OEM deals with its LCD rack-based console technology that provides a means for spotting problems with any servers in a rack, Avocent says.

This acquisition will give Avocent customers the tools to access servers in a rack without having to bring in crash carts and plug in connections to learn which server in the rack was having performance problems. Ergo technology will enable Avocent to offer that local access on top of the remote access capabilities the company already provides its customers.

"These acquisitions are a natural evolution to the strategy we started at Avocent with Cyclades and LANDesk. We are working toward managing IT as a service and we need to manage all of IT operations from the desktop to the data center to continue in that direction," Grimes says.

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