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» VIEW ALL POSTS Jun 2 2009   3:10PM GMT

CA to buy some Cassatt assets



Posted by: Mark Fontecchio
Tags:
CA
Cassatt
Data center power management

Last month we reported that Cassatt Corp., a data center energy management software company, was nearing bankruptcy. The CEO said they had been unsuccessful in finding any suitors.

That has changed, as CA announced this morning that it would buy some of Cassatt’s assets, including patents, technology and staff. According to the CA press release:

Cassatt’s Rob Gingell, executive vice president of Product Development and Chief Technology Officer, and Steve Oberlin, Chief Scientist and co-founder, have joined CA, along with their team of developers, engineers, and other key employees. In addition, CA has acquired several Cassatt patents and patent applications, as well as other intellectual property.

Cassatt’s founder and CEO Bill Coleman will not be moving to CA — it’s unclear why.

Cassatt made its name by selling software that controlled a server’s power consumption by putting it to sleep when it wasn’t processing any work, though it was trying to also make a name for itself in the cloud computing space. Just yesterday we wrote about Cassatt’s recent user survey on data center energy efficiency, which had some bright points and sore spots.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It will be interesting to see whether CA will incorporate the server sleeping technology into its own systems management software, but from the looks of the press release, it seems like CA will use the technology mostly to push some kind of cloud- or utility-based computing infrastructure. Our guess is that CA will probably run into the same issues as Cassatt did if they try to encourage users to shut down unused servers. The mentality against it within IT is just too strong. We’ll see.

Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff has a piece on the deal, going into some detail about why he thinks Cassatt was doomed — mainly because it was a small company trying to sell cutting-edge software to big companies. Not often is that a recipe for success:

Automation technologies such as Cassatt’s address very real problems. But they’re tough for a small company to sell for a couple of reasons.

The first is that they remain on the leading edge of the adoption curve. Large IT departments are indeed handing off more and more operations to their management software. But relinquishing control of data center operations has long been a slow and incremental process.

The second is that automation software is primarily interesting at large scale. If you only have 10 servers, you probably don’t feel a pressing need to automate. It’s when you have a thousand servers and you can’t run things manually any longer that you are most driven to turn to software for help.

But adopting a management platform for large swaths of a data center is a big commitment and requires a level of trust that enterprises are more likely to place in a CA, Hewlett-Packard, or IBM than they are in a start-up–however great the products.

Jay Fry, a Cassatt marketing guy, weighs in on the CA-Cassatt deal, addressing Haff’s points by saying that an acquisition by CA makes adoption of Cassatt’s technologies by large companies more likely. Unlike Coleman, Fry will be moving over to CA.

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