Novell Buying Managed Objects for BSM

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Novell has agreed to buy Managed Objects, a McLean, Virginia, maker of BSM (business service management) software. Terms of the deal, announced Tuesday, were not disclosed.

BSM software helps companies map the performance of their IT systems against day-to-day business processes. The BSM market has become dominated by a handful of large players -- IBM, Hewlett-Packard, CA and BMC -- but is also populated by a range of smaller ones, such as Compuware and FireScope.

Novell has other software in the IT management arena, but in areas like identity, data-center and asset management, as opposed to the type of service modeling and analysis tools sold by Managed Objects.

Therefore, it doesn't appear that existing Managed Objects customers have a lot to fear, in terms of the future of the vendor's product line, according to Michael Coté, an analyst with Redmonk.

"With most acquisitions, the thing you're always worried about is overlapping technology and that something will be eliminated. But Novell bought something they didn't have," Coté said.

The deal is expected to close during the first quarter of Novell's fiscal 2009, which runs Nov. 1 through Jan. 31. Novell plans to integrate Managed Objects into its Systems and Resource Management business unit.

Managed Objects' customers include Fidelity Investments and Verizon.

Novell plans to retain the majority of Managed Objects' employees, but "there's always redundancy that comes into these situations," said Richard Whitehead, director of marketing for data center solutions at Novell. He declined to say how many workers Managed Objects has or disclose any other details about the company's size.

As for Managed Objects' customers, "the big message there is that we do not want them to see any change in the support and the product road maps they've seen," Whitehead said. "We hope they even see improved capabilities from the acquisition."

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