IBM’s buy boosts virtualisation and management offerings

The purchase of a small Swiss vendor will make life easier for our customers, says Big Blue. Denise Dubie reports

IBM has announced that it will acquire Swiss company Rembo Technology, whose products are intended to bolster Big Blue’s systems management and virtualisation offerings. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rembo, a privately held software maker based in Geneva, develops products that automate the manual process of installing and updating operating systems on servers and client machines, such as desktops and laptops.

IBM says this acquisition, expected to be complete by the second quarter, will fill a small technology gap for IBM but, more importantly, also address a “major pain point” among Big Blue customers.

“The key point when looking at virtualisation and IT service management is that they are both about simplifying the complexity of manual, time-consuming tasks IT is faced with every day,” says Kevin Leahy, director of virtualisation strategy for IBM.

“For organisations with tens of thousands of client machines and servers, the time, energy and effort put towards manually installing servers is just not acceptable.”

Leahy says Rembo overlaps little, if at all, with IBM’s change and configuration management software suite, because Rembo software performs “the bare metal basic operating system install.” That makes it easier for customers to start to use Tivoli systems management products, he says.

The software will also be used in IBM’s Virtualisation Engine portfolio of hardware, software and servers. Also, the need for automation in the realm of server provisioning increases exponentially when customers also deploy virtualisation technologies, he says.

“Virtualisation provides the ability to create multiple images within a physical resource, and they aren’t static images,” Leahy adds. “IT managers want to be able to change, move and provision them as the demand in workload changes. The ability to automate the end-to-end process is a tremendous help.”

Rembo currently has about 800 customers and IBM will continue to sell its products. According to a press release, Big Blue will work to integrate Rembo technology into IBM Tivoli Provisioning Manager and IBM Director software. Rembo operations will be brought under the direction of Al Zollar, general manager of IBM Tivoli software.

IBM says Rembo’s security features can protect workstations used by multiple people — for example, in a university or hospital setting — in a virtualised environment by automatically “wiping away” operating systems and personal data after each use and re-installing clean software.

“With Rembo software, organisations can bring down the cost of managing and securing software across open, diverse environments, which is a key benefit of IT service management,” Zollar says.

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