Novell Bids $205M For PlateSpin in Virtualization Push

Though virtualization deals with “virtual” bits, the business of virtualization is certainly real for Novell. Today Novell announced it will acquire PlateSpin, a maker of data center virtualization management products, for $205 million in cash.

Novell expects the deal to close by the end of its second fiscal quarter, which is April 30. The deal adds what Novell considers to be a missing piece to its data center virtualization management offerings.

[cob:Related_Articles]”Our PlateSpin acquisition provides a critical piece in completing our commitment to deliver the most complete IT management solutions and platforms for both physical and virtual infrastructures,” Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian said on a conference call discussing the deal.

Toronto-based PlateSpin has three principal offerings that will now be integrated into Novell’s product portfolio. PlateSpin Forge is a disaster-recovery hardware appliance, PowerConvert is a workload optimization tool and PowerRecon is a data center utilization intelligence application.

Hovsepian noted that PlateSpin’s technologies fit into heterogeneous virtualization and physical infrastructures with support for hypervisors from VMware, Xen and Microsoft.

Virtualization is not a new technology offering for Novell. Currently Novell ships the Xen hypervisor as part of its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 release and has virtual machine management capabilities in Novell’s Zenworks Orchestrator systems management software. That said, Joe Wagner, senior vice president and general manager for systems and resource management at Novell, noted a lack of overlap between PlateSpin’s portfolio and Novell’s.

“What we were missing were a couple of key pieces,” Wagner said on a conference call. “One was the capability to allow customers to actually analyze their IT environment and determine what workloads should be on what physical or virtual platforms,” he said.

“We were also missing the ability that allowed customers to create images for physical and virtual workload and to move between the different image types,” Wagner added.

Novell plans to retain the overall PlateSpin company and product brand names for now. Though Novell’s chief marketing officer, John Dragoon, noted that over time Novell will do research into what is the best long-term solution for how Novell brands the PlateSpin technologies.

Novell is also not planning to take PlateSpin’s technologies open source at this point, either.

“We have strong mixed source offerings from Novell; we plan to continue a mixed source strategy as a company,” Wagner said. “In the short term we have no intention of open sourcing the technologies that PlateSpin has brought to market, but we’re always looking at options.”

The PlateSpin acquisition is Novell’s second acquisition this month. Barely two weeks ago Novell acquired open source
collaboration vendor SiteScape.

Novell is expected to announce its first fiscal quarter 2008 earnings this Thursday.

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