Industry consolidation in systems management is heating up (again)
CA just announced it will acquire privately held Wily Technology for $375m.
Q: Why is CA making this acquisition?
A: CA will gain some of the slickest J2EE performance management tools in the industry, and a good number of customers. What is more, it will also gain what may be Wily’s crown jewels – its exceedingly tight relationships with IBM and BEA. If you want to sell into the WebSphere and WebLogic installed bases, it pays to be a tool of choice used by in middleware vendors’ performance labs.
Q: How does this compare with IBM’s recent acqusition of Micromuse?
A: CA’s Wiley acquisition is far less transformative, but therefore somewhat less disruptive. IBM’s $865 million purchase of Micromuse will bring IBM new customers in telecoms, a non-traditional IT space it wants to focus on. CA’s purchase of Wily on the other hand, is very much business as usual for the Islandia software leviathan. For context its worth pointing that CA purchased its own telecoms-focused network management play last year in the space of Concord Communications. IBM also acquired Candle last year, and although the original reason was for mainframe tooling, IBM also decided to roll out Candle’s distributed performance management tools. IBM’s acquisition of Micromuse is a beachhead for cross-selling. CA is buying a clearly targeted growth business, as long as it doesn’t screw it up.
Q: Is this a technology-driven acquisition or a customer landgrab?
A: Both – Wily’s customer list is very much A-list.
Q: What is good about Wily Introscope toolset?
A: For one thing, Introscope agents are relatively low impact from a performance perspective, critical in some enterprises. Another interesting angle is that Sun’s Java Standard Edition 1.5 adopted Wily’s byte code instrumentation approach. Any systems management vendor is interested in “owning” industry standard instrumentation. Wily also has a beach-head in the multicore meets virtual machine systems world, through its relationship with Azul Systems.
Q: Doesn’t CA already have a suite of Java performance management tools?
A: Yes it does, in the Unicenter-line. But its Java performance business hasn’t been growing as fast as smaller nimbler competitors, like Wily. CA CEO John Swainson is looking for growth stories, to help push up the share price. Therefore the purchase.
Q: Who else does the acquisition potentially impact?
- BMC will be watching closely to see how CA executes on the acquisition, as it considers its own M&A strategy for 2006.
- Altiris recently acquired Tonic, another J2EE specialist.
- HP’s strategy has been to focus on OpenView Transaction Analyser, which also monitors and manages .NET applications, rather than the more domain-focused J2EE story of players like Wily. It will be interesting to see whether HP responds.
- There was a time a couple of years ago when Veritas acquisition of Precise Software Solutions gave it a very strong database to application server performance management and introspection story, but first Veritas, and now uber-owner Symantec, appear to have taken their eye of that ball.
- Quest is probably now the most attractive of the independent Java and Database performance management players, from an acquisition perspective, because the great majority of J2EE performance problems are database-related, an area where Quest is very strong.
disclaimer: IBM and BMC are clients, CA, HP and Wiley are not.