VMware buys Shavlik Technologies, looks to small-business management stack

Shavlik provides on-premise and SaaS-based management software for SMBs to manage, monitor, and secure IT systems

Last week, VMware extended its shopping spree, announcing another acquisition to its portfolio. This time, the server virtualization giant has purchased Shavlik Technologies, one of its partners in virtual machine management and a provider of on-premise and SaaS-based management solutions that enable small and midsized businesses to more effectively manage, monitor, and secure their IT environments.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, and since Shavlik is a privately held company, not much is known about its financials. Back in January of this year, the company released an announcement stating it was in its 18th year of consecutive growth, which included an increase in revenue of more than 70 percent over the past five years alone. The company also stated it had added 500 new global customers in 2010, and last week reported it had more than 3,500 customers using its on-premise IT management products worldwide. That customer count does not include VMware Go customers, which VMware says accounts for more than 200,000 registered users who've signed up for the service to date.

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VMware and Shavlik have known each other for quite some time, going back as far as 2006 when the two companies first partnered. Back then, VMware was looking for a way to help provide its upcoming Virtual Infrastructure 3.1 release with a better way to manage patches of its ESX host servers and its guest operating systems. The two worked together to create a new VirtualCenter module called Update Manager, a module that allows virtual administrators the ability to decide which patches to install on their Microsoft Windows guest operating systems and to identify which patches were needed for Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

In 2009, the companies came together again to create the free Web-based Go service, which VMware previewed in August 2009 and delivered the following January. VMware Go let users virtualize their servers with a few simple mouse clicks and provided an easy on-ramp to companies new to virtualization. The free service worked to bring VMware ESXi hypervisors under management and provided basic performance and resource management for the VMs.

In January, VMware decided to up the ante and make a little money on the Go service by launching a Go Pro edition of its online VM management tool. VMware Go Pro has deeper functionality and more automation for provisioning and patching VMs, maintains compliance with additional software license management, and helps maximize hardware resources by tracking hardware purchase details and change history.

VMware said the two companies will build upon these joint successes and will continue to provide management services for SMBs, including centralized IT management services, simplified deployment and automation, and automated IT management.

"Our patch, compliance, and endpoint security and other expertise will of course continue to be a strong area of value for our customers and for market differentiation," said company founder and CEO, Mark Shavlik. "We will continue to build on these areas as well as our on-premise solutions as we move forward in enabling SMBs to manage core IT functions through a single pane of glass, centralizing asset management, security, business continuity and data protection capabilities, in addition to other areas."

Although the deal seems to make perfect sense for VMware's long-term server virtualization and cloud vision, Shavlik still has a wide range of on-premise patch and IT management solutions in its portfolio. Both companies currently seem to be enamored with the deal, but the acquisition may have long-term implications on existing Shavlik products that don't fall in line with VMware's road map.

The acquisition is expected to be completed later this quarter. In the end, only time will tell how successful VMware is at integrating all of these solutions into a truly cohesive management story.

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