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Novell Buys PlateSpin

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Novell Buys PlateSpin

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Novell is buying five-year-old Toronto-based PlateSpin Ltd for $205 million cash, calling it a “huge step” and a “strategic acquisition” whose management software will help define Novell as an infrastructure company and assure it a place selling into the next-generation data center.

See, PlateSpin manages workloads on either physical or virtual hosts and is supposed to be good at server consolidation, data center relocation, disaster recovery, controlling virtual machine sprawl and handling billing and chargebacks

And since virtualized architecture is supposed to become the norm in most IT organizations over the next few years Novell expects to make a killing furnishing the management solutions that will be needed.

During a conference call connected with the acquisition announcement this morning Novell repeatedly mentioned PlateSpin’s growth rate but declined to quantity it.

All we know is that PlateSpin had revenues of $20 million last year and, although low profile, it managed to attract a client as prestigious as British Petroleum.

Novell is taken with the idea that PlateSpin is agnostic and supports the various virtualization widgetry out there – VMware, Microsoft, Citrix – as well as Linux, Unix and Windows.

But Novell is also expecting PlateSpin to give Novell’s SUSE-based Xen virtualization a leg up in the market.

PlateSpin’s widgetry, however, won’t be open sourced.

PlateSpin fills a hole in Novell’s Zenworks Orchestrator skills.

Unlike PlateSpin, Orchestrator can’t quite spot which workloads are ripe for virtualization or convert them from physical to virtual, according to Novell’s marketing chief John Dragoon.

Novell called its overall fit with PlateSpin “hand in glove” and said there was no technology overlap.

But Novell figures that between the two of them they’ll be able to provide complete workload lifecycle management.

Novell said the combined solutions would help customers reduce costs, improve service levels and respond to fluctuating business requirements.

Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian described the acquisition as “a cornerstone of our two-pronged enterprise Linux and IT management software strategy.”

PlateSpin and its people, including PlateSpin CEO Stephen Pollack, will become part of Novell’s Systems and Resource Management business unit but continue to work out of their home in Toronto.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of April and Novell intends for the moment to preserve both PlateSpin’s branding and its own Zenworks label, but that could change in time with integration.

PlateSpin depends heavily on telesales and the channel; Novell is expected to add direct sales.

Novell is saving any discussion of the transaction’s financial impact for its earnings call on Thursday.

PlateSpin was backed by Insight Venture Partners, OpenView Partners, CastleHill Ventures, Covington Capital and Skylon Capital.

Citrix, Microsoft and Unisys blew kisses at the deal from the sidelines.


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