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Novell Buys PlateSpin

Novell has agreed to buy prominent virtualization vendor PlateSpin for $205 million, in a deal expected to close in Novell's second fiscal quarter.

PlateSpin adds to Novell's portfolio of virtualization management offerings, the space within virtualization that Novell appears to want to make its bones. PlateSpin is most famous for two products: PowerRecon and PowerConvert. PowerRecon is an analysis and capacity planning tool that examines an IT environment, helping determine the best way to integrate virtualization; for instance, which servers are the best candidates, according to capacity and power, for server consolidation.

PowerConvert is a workload optimization tool. It's often thought of as a P2V app; in other words, it virtualizes the properties of a physical server, including the operating system, data and applications, and enables it to be moved to another physical server. PowerConvert, however, goes beyond that basic description, allowing not only P2V, but conversion in any direction: virtual-to-virtual, physical-to-physical, and virtual-to-physical.

PlateSpin's latest offering is Forge, a hardware-based disaster recovery appliance. It can handle up to 25 VMs or physical workloads, and provides near-instantaneous recovery in the event of an outage.

Novell already has a management platform. It uses the Xen open source hypervisor, and runs SUSE Linux Enterprise Server on top of that. Its management application is ZENworks Virtual Machine Management, which does at least some of what PowerRecon does; for the most part, however, PlateSpin's products will add a lot more functionality to the very basic abilities of ZENworks. It also propels Novell into the disaster recovery space with Forge, and adds, from what I've been able to glean, Novell's first hardware offering.

From where I sit (hour after hour after...), this looks like a great acquisition for Novell. The former blood enemy of Redmond (and I still chuckle when I see NetWare listed as an actual product on Novell's site) has smoked the peace pipe with Microsoft, which has helped Novell enormously since its entry into the virtualization space; now it's picked up a valuable player which will dramatically extend its reach in the virtualization management and DR niches.

For PlateSpin, an innovative company that realized the potential in the virtualization market before many other companies, it's hitched its wagon to another up-and-comer in this virtual world. If it can be left alone enough by the suits to continue to be fresh and agile, while leveraging the new cash infusion, it could be a happy marriage indeed.

Posted by Keith Ward on 02/25/2008 at 12:48 PM


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