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IBM buys SRM vendor to boost Tivoli product line

IBM on Thursday closed a deal to purchase TrelliSoft, a privately held storage resource management software vendor. Big Blue plans to integrate TrelliSoft's SRM tools and personnel with its Software Group.

In an effort to speed development of its storage resource management software, IBM has acquired TrelliSoft, an SRM vendor based in Glen Ellyn, Ill., according to an announcement Thursday.

TrelliSoft's status as a private company prevented IBM from disclosing how much it paid for the company. But IBM did say that TrelliSoft will be absorbed into the IBM Software Group, and TrelliSoft products are now available from IBM Tivoli Software.

IBM's recent announcements around its StorageTank software initiative left Tivoli's role in the strategy unclear. When the new software push was announced last spring, IBM said Tivoli would focus on enterprise-wide, heterogeneous management, including enterprise backup and recovery and storage resource management. The addition of TrelliSoft's SRM tools seems to enforce that statement.

TrelliSoft's product family includes a suite of seven management tools in its StorageAlert product line. These tools can combine for monitoring and reporting of storage capacities and events across any server platform.

"Customers are asking for help managing storage. Tivoli helps manage applications and services, and we want to extend that out to other storage resources," said Robert LeBlanc, general manager for Tivoli Software.

He added that the acquisition will speed IBM's time to market in the SRM space. IBM's internal development efforts have been behind those of many software start-ups.

John Webster, founder and senior analyst at Data Mobility Group Inc., Nashua, N.H., agreed that IBM saw a need to acquire TrelliSoft's technology rather than build its own equivalent functionality.

But, he added, Tivoli's relationship to IBM's Software Group is not well understood.

"A question many in my profession have been asking ever since IBM acquired Tivoli [is] how Tivoli's storage unit relates to IBM's," Webster said.

Jon William Toigo, an industry expert and author of The Holy Grail of Data Storage Management, said that TrelliSoft's SRM technology is Java-based under the covers. TrelliSoft's technology, however, is designed to use agents and collectors to gather information from OS file systems and from SNMP management information bases that are articulated by some storage devices, such as arrays.

Toigo said that the problem with SRM products is that storage itself is the focal point of what they do.

"I believe that a different approach is preferable. If you view infrastructure from the perspective of the application or business process, then use SRM tools to drill down into the issues you find, you will be in better shape than if you simply use an SRM tool in isolation," Toigo said. "Management is more than clearing junk off of hard disks, though that is an important part of management."

IBM said that TrelliSoft's products will become the base for Tivoli's SRM technology and that a product road map will be made public in the next few months.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer

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