Dell Looks to “Scale” While IBM Gets a “Fix”

Dell has quietly acquired Scalent Systems for an undisclosed sum.  Scalent was an early entrant into the world of management of the next generation data center.  In fact, Scalent had a bit of a rivalry with Cassatt (acquired by CA) as they competed for early adopters within the industry. 

Scalent’s flagship product, Infrastructure Manager, creates a dynamic infrastructure within your data center.  It provides end-to-end provisioning (server, network, and storage), rapid provisioning of images, server identity management, high availability, and easier deployment of virtualization.  Additionally, Scalent boasts a well designed user interface and has the capacity to power a cloud computing deployment.  However, like Cassatt, Scalent was ahead of their time and one must ask if that time has passed?  

Today, VMware has continued to work on their hypervisor while realizing the future lies within creating a manageable and effective next generation data center operating system.  VMware’s vSphere allows for application and infrastructure services that allow you to virtualize servers, storage, and networking, control service levels and on-demand applications while enforcing business priorities.  Doesn’t this sound a bit like Scalent’s IM solution?

In the end, Dell had a “try before you buy” strategy with Scalent as they have OEM’d the product since 2009.  Dell is expected to roll Scalent into their Advanced Infrastructure Manager (AIM) solution.  Dell has long understood the need for an open management platform and Scalent is a good purchase for them.  However, Dell will need to continue to improve their capabilities against their traditional rivals in HP and IBM.

Meanwhile, IBM has acquired BigFix for an undisclosed sum.  BigFix is a systems management vendor that specializes in systems and security tools.  Built from the ground up with security in mind, BigFix offers System Lifecycle Management, Security Configuration and Vulnerability Management, EndPoint Protection, and a Unified Management Platform.  Wait, Wait, Wait…Doesn’t IBM already have Tivoli?

While Tivoli has a formidable overall product line, they don’t have a great reputation for desktop management.  Perhaps suffering from “the innovator’s dilemma”, IBM lagged behind offerings from Altiris (acquired by Symantec), Lumension (formally PatchLink), and LanDesk (spinning off from Emerson Electric).  With the acquisition of BigFix, IBM acquires a company with a stellar reputation and solid customer base.  I’d suspect that IBM’s Tivoli sales teams and their customers/prospects are chomping at the bit to get their hands on BigFix.

Although IBM’s press release says, “IBM to Acquire BigFix to Advance Smarter Data Centers”, this is really not a data center play, yet.  Although BigFix has the capacity to manage servers, their real strength is within desktop management and the emerging mobile management space.  It’s a great pick-up by IBM and BigFix will fit nicely into the Tivoli product portfolio.  Given IBM’s resources, don’t be surprised if BigFix accelerates their capabilities within server management, virtualization management, and VDI.


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