IBM buys application resource mapping firm Collation

IBM's software business makes its ninth acquisition of the year

IBM announced Wednesday that it has acquired autodiscovery and application resource mapping software company Collation as a way to beef up its IT service management software. This is the ninth acquisition this year for IBM's software business, according to an IBM executive.

IBM didn't disclose how much it paid for privately held Collation, which is based in Redwood City, California. All of Collation's 23 staff are joining IBM, Bob Madey, vice president of strategy and market management at IBM, said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Collation's Confignia software automatically captures information about the configuration of a customer's hardware and software and displays that data on a detailed map. Being able to view their IT infrastructure this way can help IT staff have a better understanding of how changes like the installation of a security patch may affect the entire computing environment.

IBM and Collation have been working together for some time, according to Madey. "Customers don't have to wait for integration [between the two companies' products]," he said. "It's already done." He pointed out that IBM's and Collation's software are "architected in a similar manner," which eased integration work between their products.

In May, Collation announced Confignia would support IBM's Tivoli Business Systems Manager and Tivoli Provisioning Manager as part of the integration of Confignia with IBM's Discovery Library. The Discovery Library is a repository of configuration data for IBM's Tivoli Change and Configuration Management Database (CCMDB), which will be Confignia's eventual home.

Laying out the road map for Confignia, Madey said the next version of the software, Confignia 4.0, will ship as planned on Dec. 1 as a Collation-branded product. By February, IBM plans to release a Big Blue-branded release of Confignia that will feature support for IBM's AIX flavor of Unix and Microsoft's Windows operating system, according to Madey. The upcoming IBM version will also standardize on IBM middleware as much as possible such as the company's DB2 relational database.

"In June [2006], Confignia will go away as a stand-alone product," Madey said. Instead, the Collation software will become an integral part of Tivoli CCMDB when that IBM product becomes generally available around June, he added. Madey stressed that Tivoli CCMDB is an "open product" and that IBM will maintain its partnerships with Collation's competitors including Cendura, NLayers, and Relicore.

Collation customers include FedEx, Fidelity Investments, Motorola, the New York City Police Department, and The World Bank. The company sold its software directly to about a dozen customers, according to Madey, as well as gaining other customers through reselling deals with Micromuse and Compuware. "We have no plans of ending those relationships [with Micromuse and Compuware]," he said.