BMC Buys Phurnace, Creates Game ChangerBy Steve Wexler | Posted 2010-01-07 Email Print
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Automating the data center is one of the fastest growing segments of the management software category, and BMC believes it is changing the game with its acquisition of automation expert Phurnace Software.
Houston-based BMC Software is expanding its automation capabilities with the acquisition of privately held Phurnace Software, whose technology "significantly reduces the cost, complexity and risk" to deploy and configure Java-based applications on physical, virtual and cloud environments.
BMC cites the application layer is the next frontier in data center automation and called its acquisition of Phurnace a "fundamental game changer" in that domain. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
With annual revenues of $1.87 billion and earnings of $400 million, BMC focuses on data center automation tools and plans to both integrate Phurnace products into its own BladeLogic Server Automation Suite product and sell them as standalone solutions. The addition to its product portfolio, which will be rebranded BMC BladeLogic Application Release Automation, is the only solution available today that fully automates the application deployment process, providing customers with seamless, rapid full-stack provisioning and compliance of all infrastructure layers, including the operating system, patches, middleware and applications. An automated application release solution will streamline implementations, reduce the risk of errors and help customers avoid downtime and outages traditionally associated with manual or script-based processes, states BMC.
"There's really nothing else out there like this," says BMC's Scott Fulton, vice president and general manager, Service Automation Business. "The real gap that Phurnace fills, not only in BMC's portfolio but in the industry at large, is automating tools for the application layer in the data center."
Before Phurnace, companies tended to use scripts to handle changes, and they tend to be very fragile and complex to maintain. Fulton says the application layer is the next frontier in the data center, one without much choice, but an area that is absolutely critical for companies looking to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The application layer changes a lot in most companies, he says, and with Phurnace changes can now be made in minutes and hours, instead of the days and months it normally takes.
Fulton says one of the things that impressed BMC the most was how successful Phurnace has been. Typically, start-ups have very limited commercial success, but this company was signing up Fortune 100 companies shortly after its debut. It hasn't hurt that companies like IBM and HP were also reselling it, he adds.
The biggest opportunity for the channel will be for system integrators, says Fulton. They often have the first visibility that there is going to be a new Web application, and can start to use the new tool in the early stages of development. He says BMC sees much higher growth from these channel partners than from selling directly to the customers.
"More and more you see parts of the data center being outsourced to the big systems integrators," he said.
The data center market has been very good to BMC, even in this economy, says Fulton. Organizations are looking to do more with less, and do it faster, with the biggest drivers being data center consolidation and virtualization. Customers are also looking at private clouds, which BMC sees as another big growth opportunity. Compliance is another important driver.
BMC says integrating Phurnace technology into existing BladeLogic deployments will provide the following benefits: the unique ability to model and deploy Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE) applications for WebLogic, WebSphere, JBoss and WebSphere Portal; complete elimination of scripting through automation and tokenization; rapid troubleshooting and remediation by auditing and synchronizing application server configurations; automatic migration of applications from one version of an application server to another; and the ability to preview and validate changes prior to deployment.