IT giant IBM announced this year that it had reached agreement to acquire Candle Corporation, a widely-recognised supplier of solutions that help customers develop, deploy and manage enterprise IT infrastructures,writes Bloor Research analyst Tony Lock.
Following its foundation in 1976, the privately-held Candle has picked up over 3,000 customers spread around the globe that employ its tools in everyday IT operations.
The company has developed a wide-ranging set of infrastructure management solutions that has come to be highly regarded. Its offerings for Mainframe and Data Centre management may first spring to mind, but Candle has quietly put together solutions that manage a wide range of platforms, including zSeries, Linux, UNIX and Windows systems, along with IBM's DB2, Lotus, Tivoli and WebSphere software products.
The acquisition, the value of which has not been disclosed, is expected to close in second quarter of 2004 following customary regulatory approvals. At that time Candle and its staff will be integrated into IBM, primarily the IBM Software Group.
However, Candle will not become another standalone group within IBM, as happened with Rational. Instead, it is likely that the various solutions and components software will be gradually incorporated into IBM's software offerings. Until the acquisition closes, IBM and Candle will continue to conduct business as separate companies.
Candle's main products have addressed issues surrounding the automation of data centre management, the optimisation of application infrastructures and the delivery of real-time application analytics. The company's flagship offering, Omegamon, provides tools to assist in the end-to-end management of data centres and the IT Infrastructure, that help pinpoint and resolve problems with its root cause analysis facilities and to automate IT operations.
PathWAI, Candle's second major product addresses the application infrastructure and provides facilities to help streamline the Web development life cycle and to speed problem isolation and resolution.
In particular, Candle has developed it solutions to measure system performance from the perspective of the end user and then to dynamically configure the supporting application infrastructure to deliver optimal performance. This has allowed Candle to develop its offerings to support the management of the data centre in business terms to help ensure that the service levels delivered by IT meet the objectives of the business.
In some respects, the acquisition is less surprising than many others as the two companies have worked closely ever since Candle was set up and neatly complements IBM's own management and integration solutions, namely Tivoli and WebSphere. Indeed, over time the merging of the management offerings of two organisations has the potential to produce a new generation of management tools closely aligned with real business requirements. The fact that Candle's staff is eminently skilled is a valuable additional bonus.