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Opinion

IBM Acquires Vallent Corporation
Joyce Becknell By: Joyce Becknell, Research Director, EMEA, Sageza Group, Inc. (Moved)
Published: 14th December 2006
Copyright Sageza Group, Inc. © 2006

IBM has announced that it plans to acquire Vallent Corporation, a privately-held U.S. company that provides network performance monitoring and service management software for wireless service providers. Vallent’s software lets service providers manage their network infrastructure performance by monitoring and reporting problem areas such as dropped calls and traffic bottlenecks. It also helps operators improve the quality of wireless service and identify network problems before they affect the customer experience.

IBM believes that the combination of Vallent’s software with IBM’s management capabilities will allow service providers to deliver and manage end-to-end high-quality services across wire line, wireless, IP, and converged fixed/mobile network infrastructures. The product will be added to IBM’s Tivoli software Netcool portfolio to create a broad set of service assurance capabilities, including fault, network performance, and service quality management over various technologies and third-party equipment and applications. IBM acquired the Netcool assets in February of 2006 when it purchased Micromuse.

When IBM acquired Micromuse earlier this year, it inherited the Netcool capabilities to manage wireless infrastructure and IP-based services. While this added to IBM’s capabilities, there was still some concern that IBM was not fully committed to the service provider network, particularly on the wireless side. Vallent provides the ability to manage wireless radio access networks, which should be a good fit with the Netcool products. Vallent can also address a broader set of service management issues, according to IBM, from handsets and base stations to IP application servers. IBM believes that these newly acquired capabilities should give service providers the confidence that IBM is fully committed to them and their markets.

We’ve noted before that IBM is one of the vendors keen to be a leader in the management space. Leadership in management clearly extends beyond the classic enterprise data center infrastructure to commercial data center infrastructure that service providers are building out for their clients. In this space wireless is one of the strategic plays that demands competence and robust services beyond those required of the traditional corporate data center. Integrating Vallent will provide IBM with those capabilities, and Vallent brings a range of international clients that will boost IBM’s portfolio. Current Vallent customers stand to win as they inherit the IBM’s deep capabilities across technologies and prospective clients will now be able to consider IBM and Tivoli in their list of prospective vendors.

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