Friday, February 26, 2010

Can CA acquire its way into cloud management market leadership?

Since mid-2009, CA (the former Computer Associates) has acquired data center automation assets and expertise from Cassatt, as well as the companies NetQoS (network performance management and service delivery management solutions) and Oblicore (IT service level management software). This week, CA announced plans to buy 3Tera, a pioneering provider of solutions for building and deploying cloud-based services.

CA is clearly positioning itself as a "one-stop shop" for solutions to manage both cloud-based and premise-based IT infrastructures. But CA faces a growing range of competitors, particularly where cloud-based infrastructure management is concerned. (See the Focus Brief "Infrastructure Management 'In the Cloud:' Why Now May Be the Time at Your Business" at And CA has a long and decidedly uneven history of successfully integrating and leveraging acquired companies, their people and assets.

So can CA extend its leadership in premise-based IT management into the cloud successfully?

Well, I'm not convinced. And I'm not the only one asking. As Matthew McKenzie, Senior Editor at Enterprise Efficiency, a site you should check out and bookmark, wrote in his piece, "CA Builds a Solid Strategy on Cloud Acquisitions, "It's up to CA to put the pieces together and build a truly valuable software stack for its customers. I see that happening, and I also see CA offering a lot of long-term value for IT executives with private- or hybrid-cloud development plans. But this time around, one thing is clear: Milking these acquisitions like a bunch of sickly cash cows simply is not an option."

True and well said. Having followed CA since its inception, I am both cautiously hopeful and at least a little wary. But I have no real stake in what happens. If you do or your company does, however, I'd advise you to watch CA closely, especially for signs that top people from its acquisitions are leaving or have left. I also recommend that if you do business with CA, you demand a briefing about its cloud-related road map, under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) if need be. That will at least help you to set a baseline for comparing what CA says to what CA does. Close alignment between the two is good; non-alignment is a cause for concern -- as is a lack of useful, actionable information from the company.

Lots has happened and continues to happen at CA. Whether all this activity translates into actual change or progress is still an open question. Caveat emptor. And in the meantime, come on over to to discuss, at Thanks!