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CA Acquires BPM Vendor Oblicore

CA has acquired Oblicore, a closely held but established provider of software that measures the effect of system uptime on business performance. Terms of the deal, announced Monday, were not disclosed.

Analysts say what makes Oblicore's software stand out is its "top-down" approach to measuring IT performance and relating its impact in business terminology. CA said adding Oblicore's wares to its portfolio will also help organizations determine the impact of cloud services on business performance as those services become more widely implemented.

The company's Oblicore Guarantee software translates terms and conditions in IT business contracts into operational requirements. That enables IT organizations to manage their infrastructures to meet those requirements, said Richard Ptak, managing partner with IT consultancy Ptak, Noel & Associates LLC.

"Most of the emphasis to date has been a focus from the 'bottom-up' -- i.e., from the technical aspects of infrastructure operation and trying to relate that to service impacts," Ptak said in an e-mail. "The translation from technical performance and interactive characteristics to business-comprehensible metrics has been a continuing problem."

Vince Re, CA's senior vice president and chief architect, said in an interview that Oblicore's software already has connectors to 60 leading IT systems management platforms, allowing it to share data across various lines of businesses. The software provides business-impact analysis reports based on service-level agreements built into contracts. It also helps organizations determine their goals upfront in the procurement cycle, Re said.

"The idea of starting with the terms and conditions and the business contracts and going down from that is relatively unique," Re said.

"I don't know of anybody that's doing the contracts management in the way Oblicore does," said Lisa Erickson-Harris, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates. "Oblicore is more designed around pulling in data from a multitude of different data sources. That will be a big advantage for CA going into shops that are just CA shops."

Over time, CA sees Oblicore having even more appeal to organizations that are considering the use of cloud services. "Where we see that going is much like IT as a supply chain, where its role isn't so much to be the factory but to kind of weave things together from lots of different suppliers," Re said. "Of course, some of those could be cloud, some of those can be things that you run internally as a private or hybrid cloud. Lots and lots of things that come together there, and to be successful you need service-level management between each of those component parts."

Ptak agreed. "Cloud computing is the other trend that makes Oblicore's technology interesting because we believe cloud services without serious service-level contracts are an enterprise disaster waiting to happen," he said in a blog post about the acquisition.

Oblicore's software is built on Microsoft's SQL Server database and provides dashboards to managers via a Web interface. Re said Oblicore's software already has connectors to CA's other key management tools as well as competitive offerings. CA is still determining how to evolve the technology but hinted that a cloud-based version may be in the works.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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