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IBM Buys into Performance Management

Looking to flesh out its software brands, IBM acquired application performance management (APM) software maker Cyanea.

The purchase closed Thursday. While IBM officials would not reveal financial terms of the deal, the company will fold the privately held start-up into its Tivoli systems management software business.

With Cyanea, IBM will add software that monitors and manages the performance of Web applications across its Tivoli, WebSphere and Rational software lines, bolstering an already strong management software core.

John Swainson, vice president of worldwide sales of the IBM Software Group, said Cyanea's software helps business applications written in Java, CICS and IMS run faster and more reliably on mainframe and distributed computing systems.

Cyanea's software does this by identifying and solving problems before they affect response time. This function is a cornerstone of IBM's e-business on-demand strategy for automating infrastructures and making them more proactive in detecting performance issues.

Swainson told internetnews.com that one of the most attractive aspects of Cyanea was its approach to composite applications, which he said was very consistent with how IBM deploys WebSphere in a customer environment.

"That is, we tend to tell customers to put WebSphere in front of their existing Unix or mainframe environments," Swainson said. "Cyanea has the unique ability to look across the WebSphere and mainframe environments so customers can get an end-to-end view of their composite applications."

The executive said this is a unique view compared to offerings from a raft of other APM providers, including Mercury Interactive, Wily Technology, Compuware, BearingPoint, Quest Software, Capterra and Segue.

"The Tivoli strategy up to this point has been to do broad-based monitoring. But we hadn't had the deep capability to probe inside a WebSphere application to understand what's been going on," Swainson said. "We get that deep capability with Cyanea."

The purchase also facilitates some changes to the Tivoli organization, Swainson said. The executive, who Wednesday moved from the WebSphere division, said IBM plans to tie much of the APM technology in Cyanea to the assets the company acquired from middleware management concern Candle earlier this year.

In turn, the Cyanea and Candle application management elements and staff will report to the overall Tivoli line. Cyanea currently has 75 employees, most of whom will join IBM. This includes Cyanea President and CEO James Chong, who will lead the Cyanea and Candle integration in Tivoli.

The purchase is Big Blue's seventeenth software buy since 2001, all of which have been tailored to enhance the company's on-demand initiative.

It is also a competitive strike to keep up with rivals. Industry analyst Judith Hurwitz, president of Hurwitz & Associates, said Cyanea would help Big Blue better compete with HP, which also has a large stake in the management software business.

"This is a very ambitious but necessary move for IBM," said Hurwitz in a statement. "It will help elevate their position in the management platform game -- a move they have to take in order to be competitive with other major players."