Will Quest's acquisition of VKernel shrink virtualization management ecosystem?

Quest Software must decide if it will merge app performance management products or choose between vOperations Suite and vFoglight

Quest Software announced today that it has acquired Boston-based VKernel, a provider of capacity management products for virtualized data centers and cloud environments. The official announcement was short on details and devoid of fanfare -- no purchase price was disclosed -- and I would anticipate that more information about the acquisition will be forthcoming down the road. VKernel did say it plans to expand its team and is already renovating its Boston headquarters for a first-quarter move-in date.

VKernel entered the virtualization market in 2007 with the release of its chargeback product for VMware environments. The company continued to build on its virtualization offerings by moving into performance and capacity management. Ultimately, VKernel evolved its product line from a series of valuable point solution tools into an enterprise offering, called vOperations Suite, which integrates virtualization monitoring, planning, optimization, reporting, and chargeback into a single, easy-to-deploy virtual appliance.

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VKernel also realized the importance and value in supporting a heterogeneous hypervisor environment and expanded support from VMware vSphere to Microsoft Hyper-V, with plans to add support for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) sometime this quarter. Perhaps it was this simplicity and cross-virtualization platform support that ultimately appealed to Quest Software.

Bryan Semple, VKernel CMO, commented on the VKernel blog that his company is excited to become a subsidiary of Quest and believes this is a big win for VKernel's customers, partners, and employees. Semple stated, "But beyond today's announcement, it will be business as usual for VKernel, except the new VKernel will be turbo-charged with the backing of Quest. This turbo-charging has been enabled by our product and market success and will carry us to a new stage of accelerated growth."

For now, it sounds like status quo. VKernel will continue to run as an independent subsidiary, much like Vizioncore did for a few years after it was purchased by Quest, until it was ultimately rebranded and subsumed into the Quest product line. But unlike Vizioncore, VKernel is already deeply entrenched in the virtualization management space. And the two companies have competing products in the marketplace that have gone head-to-head on many occasions in pursuit of the same clients. It will be interesting to see what happens with the VKernel and the Quest vFoglight product lines as the two remain on the market.

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