HP aims to snatch up SPI Dynamics

Lays out plans to acquire Web application vendor to boost security in application quality-management capabilities

HP on Tuesday announced its intentions to acquire SPI Dynamics, a maker of Web application security assessment software and services, for an undisclosed amount.

HP, which is hosting two user conferences -- HP Software Universe and HP Technology Forum & Expo -- in Las Vegas this week, announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire the application security vendor with intentions to use the software to pump up its IT application quality-management products. The software, HP says, will help HP provide products that improve and guarantee performance and security of e-commerce Web sites or financial and supply-chain management applications.

"The number of vulnerabilities to business-critical applications has gone up exponentially with the rise of Web-based applications," said Jonathan Rende, vice president of products, Quality Management Software at HP, in a company press release. "Today, HP Software provides solutions that ensure that business applications run well. Now with the addition of SPI Dynamics, we can make sure it is also secure."

According to HP, SPI Dynamics technology, already integrated with HP Quality Center software, "enables customers to assess and identify security vulnerabilities along the entire life cycle of Web applications - from development, quality assurance and deployment." Customers use the software to validate application security and quality after deployment and to ensure standards measure up with regulatory compliance requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley.

SPI Dynamics executives say the buy will help them better serve their customers, which include more than 1,000 organizations ranging from the federal government, financial services and healthcare industries, including HP.

"The combination of HP and SPI Dynamics will allow us to scale and provide our customers with the industry's most comprehensive application quality, performance and security-assessment solutions," said Brian Cohen, chief executive officer, SPI Dynamics, said in an HP press release. "For more than five years we have partnered with HP, so I am very pleased to be joining forces to better serve our customers and partners."

Along with service-management offerings, HP announced at the show updated its quality-management products, some of which the company acquired with Mercury Interactive last year. Other stories on this topic

The news of HP's intention to buy comes just two weeks after IBM announced plans to buy SPI's rival Watchfire. SPI has been a partner and supplier to HP for some time, as Watchfire was to IBM.

The acquisitions leave one other player in the application security field adrift: Cenzic, is a long-term partner of IBM and Mercury Interactive, now part of HP. Cenzic hopes to profit from the uncertainty in the market to gain share: It will offer as much as six months free service for customers that trade in their Watchfire Appscan license for a subscription to its Hailstorm Enterprise ARC service, it said Monday.

HP says the acquisition is expected to close by the third quarter. Following the close, SPI Dynamics business is expected to be integrated into the software unit of HP's Technology Solutions Group, the business unit also responsible for servers, storage and consulting services. Headquartered in Atlanta, privately held SPI Dynamics has 140 employees, and HP says it expects to keep operations as usual and bring SPI Dynamics employees over to HP.

"Between now and closing of the transaction, there will be no changes in the day-to-day activities at SPI Dynamics. While integration planning has not been finalized, HP's intention is to acquire an operational business and would need SPI Dynamics employees to continue their current functions to maintain this business," an HP spokeswoman said at HP Software Universe Tuesday.

The IDG News service contributed to this report.

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Denise Dubie

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