PlateSpin acquired by Novell for $205M cash

While attending VMworld Europe in Cannes, France, I was surprised to hear the announcement from Novell that it was going to acquire PlateSpin for $205 million in cash. What I wasn't surprised about was PlateSpin finally being acquired. And I wasn't even surprised at the amount. I've heard rumors for a while now that PlateSpin was being looked at by a few companies but that the 'offers' weren't high enough. What

While attending VMworld Europe in Cannes, France, I was surprised to hear the announcement from Novell that it was going to acquire PlateSpin for $205 million in cash.

What I wasn't surprised about was PlateSpin finally being acquired. And I wasn't even surprised at the amount. I've heard rumors for a while now that PlateSpin was being looked at by a few companies but that the 'offers' weren't high enough. What did surprise me at first was that Novell was the company that finally coughed up the right amount of cash to acquire PlateSpin. And after talking with people on the VMworld showroom floor, I wasn't the only one who was initially surprise to hear the news.

After thinking more about it and after talking with PlateSpin employees and other convention goers at VMworld Europe, things started to take shape and make a little more sense to me. Novell's interest in virtualization and the virtual infrastructure is nothing new. They've been on this course for a while now with their early involvement with Xen. Another interesting acceleration down this path was when Novell announced its collaboration agreements with Microsoft in November 2006. Also taking place that same month, Novell announced its ZENworks solutions to take control from the desktop to the data center.

Ron Hovsepian, president and CEO of Novell, said, "The PlateSpin acquisition will be a cornerstone of our two-pronged enterprise Linux and IT management software strategy. With the addition of the PlateSpin product portfolio, Novell will be uniquely positioned to deliver the next generation infrastructure software that is at the core of the data center. Together, we will have the most comprehensive workload management solution that allows customers to monitor and analyze what to virtualize, provide the tools to seamlessly virtualize and unvirtualize workloads, automate the management of workloads, and provide the leading open source platform from which to run virtualized work."

Virtualization isn't new technology to Novell. The company already packages the Xen hypervisor as part of its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 operating system and it also offers its own virtualization management capabilities in its ZENworks software. But on a conference call, the company said they were still missing a few key pieces.

PlateSpin offers Novell three main solutions to fill that void: PlateSpin PowerConvert, the company's long time anywhere-to-anywhere workload conversion tool which offers physical-to-virtual (P2V), virtual-to-virtual (V2V), virtual-to-physical (V2P) and physical-to-physical (P2P) portability. PlateSpin PowerRecon, an advanced analysis and planning tool that provides such functionality as capacity planning and profiling, chargeback allocation and reporting for workload visualization. And PlateSpin Forge, the company's latest product, which offers an appliance to help protect an environment with an out of the box disaster recovery solution.

It sounds as though Novell will continue to use the PlateSpin name, at least for the short term, and they also plan to keep the PlateSpin products closed. However, it is always possible that at some point down the road, Novell could open source the PlateSpin solutions - nothing has been ruled out.

The acquisition deal is expected to close during Novell's second fiscal quarter 2008. PlateSpin's CEO Stephen Pollack and the rest of the PlateSpin employees are expected to remain with Novell as they get integrated into Novell's Systems and Resource Management business unit.

The PlateSpin acquisition will give Novell a new stream of revenue and will help to further propel the company as a virtualization player in this expanding market.

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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