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Altiris, BMC, Novell Acquire Security, Compliance

Altiris , BMC Software and Novell each moved to acquire a software vendor, reinforcing their commitment to systems management.

Altiris agreed to acquire threat management outfit Pedestal Software for $65 million in cash; BMC purchased Web single sign-on specialist OpenNetwork for $18 million in cash; and Novell agreed to buy Tally Systems to boost its ability to manage software assets.

Taken together, the three acquisitions point to a surge in demand for management software, a multi-billion-dollar industry headlined by mainstays, such as IBM , CA and HP . Corporations are requesting various types of such software to help them comply with stringent records retention mandates, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC 17a-4 and HIPAA.

Altiris said in a statement it will use Pedestal's SecurityExpressions suite to set up and enforce security policies for all of the computers running on a network.

Combined with Altiris Patch Management software for network quarantine and recovery, SecurityExpressions will help customers plug vulnerabilities in desktops and servers that run Windows, Unix and Linux operating systems.

Revenue from the transaction is expected to be in the range of $17 million to $18 million in 2005.

If it succeeds in closing the deal by the end of the month, Altiris will begin integrating the Pedestal products with Altiris systems management software, which will eventually fall under the heading of Altiris Security Management Suite for desktops and servers.

Altiris' last acquisition was a January purchase of application monitoring company Tonic Software in January.

Altiris competitor BMC made its own security software play in snapping up Privately held OpenNetwork, a Clearwater, Fla., provider of single sign-on software for the Internet with 70 customers in financial services, telecommunications and other industries.

For BMC, the purchase fills an important hole in the company's security management portfolio. OpenNetwork's products are compatible with both Java and .NET and allow customers to access applications from disparate locations through a Web browser. Such federated identity management tools can enable Web services for e-commerce.

BMC already offered single sign-on software for enterprises, along with identity management software for user provisioning, directory content management and audit and compliance management. Adding more broad single sign-on gives the company a new dimension and helps it better compete with management software rivals IBM, CA and HP.

Roughly 40 OpenNetwork employees will join BMC Software's identity management business unit.

In acquisition news with compliance implications, Novell agreed to acquire Tally Systems for an undisclosed sum. Novell will use the Lebanon, N.H., company's software for discovery and inventory and software usage and trend analysis to fortify its ZENworks systems management portfolio.

Novell said in a statement that Tally's suite will help ZENworks track information and assets in servers, desktops and laptops. Tally's software will also help enterprises be compliant with software licenses and government regulations.

Novell, which earlier this week made a slew of product announcements at its annual BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, expects to close the transaction by the middle of April.