20 January 2006 Integration tools maker Progress Software has reached agreement to acquire Actional, a supplier of web services management (WSM) tools, in $32 million deal that will extend its service-oriented architecture capabilities.
Actional will be integrated into Progress Software’s Sonic division, which makes enterprise service bus software – a core component of many SOA implementations. Progress Software will also add 40 of Actional’s employees to its payroll.
By melding Sonic’s SOA Suite and Actional’s products – each has an established SOA product line in its own right – Progress Software hopes to position Sonic as the leading provider of platform-independent SOA infrastructure software.
“Now that most enterprises acknowledge the business agility and operational efficiency benefits of SOA, we see that there are many organisations with clear needs for Web services management,” said Greg O’Connor, president of Sonic.
The acquisition is further evidence of consolidation in the WSM market. Earlier this month, Mercury Interactive acquired Systinet, and over the past 18 months, Adjoin, Confluent and other pure-play WSM companies have been bought by leading infrastructure and enterprise management vendors such as CA and Hewlett-Packard.
“Consolidation in this space is likely to continue,” said Gordon van Huizen, CTO at Progress. “There is no secret the SOA market is heating up with organisations placing more bets on SOA as a defining strategy for their organisations.”
Importantly, the acquisition of Actional strengthens Progress’s hand against rivals such as IBM. In October 2005, IBM inked a partnership deal with Actional, primarily because IBM was interested in Actional’s ability to provide management capabilities within mainframe environments.
In December 2005, Progress also acquired Neon Software, a maker of mainframe integration tools.
Meanwhile, the announcement has left Amberpoint with less competition in the WSM market.
“With arguably the most significant of its pure-play competitors acquired, there is more room for Amberpoint to play the best-of-breed card,” said Neil Macehiter, a partner at IT industry analysts Macehiter Ward-Dutton.
“More importantly, Amberpoint can strike partnerships with SOA infrastructure vendors, such as BEA and Tibco, who compete with Sonic”, he said.