IBM Buys Micromuse

December 21, 2005


It had to happen sooner or later. The systems management vendors have been stable for a few months. There are three big players (IBM, HP, and Microsoft), a small subset of moderately-sized players (like CA), and a gaggle of niche players. Over the years, innovation has come through the niche players while stability and scalability have come from the platform vendors.

But the big guys haven’t moved much recently. Yes, we’ve seen Microsoft MOM grow into a tenable enterprise player. But the other frameworks haven’t really modernized – until now. IBM has signalled that they will augment their framework by acquiring the network management wizards at Micromuse. This is a great move by IBM. While the Tivoli suite has some good components, its weakest flank was network management. So the Netcool line will be brought in to offset (i.e., displace) some of the aging NetView componentry. More importantly, this signals the importance of VOIP management for tech-savvy enterprises.

But is IBM doing more than just filling in some gaps? I think so. I believe that this is the first in a larger series of enterprise management tool consolidations. In my view, the next big folks to get consumed will be the provisioning specialist. Specifically, I see Opsware and Bladelogic as being ripe for the M&A spotlight. This is espcially true as virtualization is driven further into mainstream enterprise management. As more folks virtualize, there will be an increased need to rapdily (and seamlessly) provision (and decomission) systems.

So the big question is this: when will HP start its acquisition/integration efforts?




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