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Microsoft Buys IT Process Automation Firm Opalis

Microsoft quietly announced Friday that it has purchased privately-held Opalis Software and will integrate its IT process automation products into the Microsoft System Center management suite.

Rumors have been circulating for several weeks that Opalis has been in Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) sights.

Under the terms of the deal, Toronto-based Opalis will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft, according to a statement. The rest of the deal's particulars were not be disclosed.

"This deal brings together the deep datacenter automation expertise of Opalis with the integrated physical and virtualized datacenter management capabilities of Microsoft System Center," Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Management & Services Division, said in a post on the System Center blog on Friday.

Microsoft sees Opalis's products as providing the glue to unify diverse datacenter management applications, products, and services, particularly in the realm of virtual machine lifecycle management and other areas of virtualization.

"Opalis's software captures the IT processes, in a documented and repeatable way, which can be run over and over again [and] these capabilities will be added to Microsoft System Center to help customers automate complex IT processes, increase cost savings and shorten timeframes for IT service delivery across physical, virtual and cloud computing environments," Anderson's post said.

Microsoft has been working for the past several years to make the move into datacenter management products under the System Center brand.

Among the products Microsoft currently offers include Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, Virtualization Manager, Data Protection Manager, Capacity Planner, Service Manager, and Mobile Device Manager, as well as Essentials.

"Combined with Opalis, System Center will be able to interoperate with all of those legacy tools so customers can take a 'land and migrate' approach with Microsoft versus a 'rip and replace' approach as they build out their next generation virtualized data centers," Todd DeLaughter, president and CEO of Ophalis, said in his own blog post on Opalis's site.

While the Opalis products are in "transition to Microsoft systems and processes," Microsoft will continue to fulfill its existing agreements and to deliver support to customers, Anderson's blog post said.