Symantec dumps application performance management business

Symantec Thursday announced plans to sell its application performance management (APM) business. The business is based on technology Veritas (now owned by Symantec) acquired through its 2003 purchase of Precise Software Solutions.

Vector Capital, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, has agreed to buy for an undisclosed sum the Precise business, which Symantec developed into its i3 APM offerings.

Upon the deal closing, which is expected to happen by the end of the first calendar quarter, the APM business will operate as a stand-alone company called Precise Software Solutions.

For its part, Symantec says unloading the APM unit will help the company better focus and compete for server and storage management customers.

“Selling the APM business will allow the storage and server management team to focus on security and managing information,” said Greg Butterfield, interim group president of Symantec’s server and storage management group, in a company statement.

Industry watchers say the sale marks a move by vendors such as Symantec and potentially EMC away from APM to focus more on information management and security. Letting the APM business go could also indicate that Symantec decided to let BMC, CA, HP and IBM focus on business service management, or BSM, which APM technologies underpin. BSM technology lets IT staff relate how the infrastructure and application performances impact the business, and is a common theme among the Big Four management vendors.

Vendors like Symantec looking to compete against the incumbent management players will have to have BSM in their portfolio, says Jasmine Noel, principal analyst at Ptak, Noel and Associates. And in that case, moving away from APM could be a short-sighted move or it could make way for a bigger acquisition in that area in the future.

“With the right investment i3 could grow into that [BSM] space. On the other hand, dumping i3 clears the way for another mega-deal between Symantec and one of the BSM vendors, which sounds smart except for the fact that Wall Street hated their last mega-deal [with Veritas]” she adds.

In a statement, Symantec said it signed an agreement with Vector in which Symantec would continue to sell APM software and support its customers. Symantec also indicated it would continue to honor its commitment to existing APM customers and transition personnel to Precise Software Solutions.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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