UC4 expands into DevOps with Ventum purchase

The next version of UC4's IT automation software will include Ventum tools for development management

In a move to expand its IT automation software to take on development management as well, UC4 Software has purchased Austrian software company Ventum and integrated the company's technologies into its own software package, UC4 announced Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Ventum helps us create a more holistic offering that provides support for an entire lifecycle of a release," said Jason Liu, CEO of UC4. Ventum's software will provide the ability for managers to control the planning and development of a new application being created in-house, alongside UC4's existing capabilities of managing the deployment and configuration of software in production use.

By placing development management in the same console as deployment management, UC4's software could help organizations adopt DevOps practices. DevOps is an increasingly popular practice of pairing an organization's application developers ("Dev") with its administrators, or operations staff (the "Ops" part). Under DevOps, a new application can be tested in an operational environment as quickly as possible, allowing developers to revise the software quickly and giving administrators an earlier say in how the software should be configured for everyday use.

Traditionally, development, testing and production tended to be run by different teams, Liu said. "Each of them use their own tools and processes," he said. "What we want to do is break down those walls with an orchestration layer on top."

Liu said some of UC4's customers are already using the company's automation platform in DevOps-like management, though users have written their own templates to cover many of the development features. The company is also seeing enterprise customers that could benefit from a DevOps approach, due to the increasing demands of getting new software functionality out to their customers.

"They see their dev guys fighting with their ops guys. They see late releases. They see developers worrying way too much about configurations," Liu said. "They see the pain, they just don't see that the solution is DevOps."

UC4 already has the tools for managing the deployment of software. It offers a suite of IT automation software, used by about 2,000 organizations. Built around what Liu calls an "automation engine," the software allows administrators to provision and maintain software across enterprises as well as orchestrate automatic workflows among different applications. "We're all about making it easier for administrators to manage their environments," Liu said.

Ventum offered software for managing software development projects. The software establishes a centralized approval process, allowing managers to set deadlines and see what portions of code are being worked on by which developers. Ventum software can carry out tasks such as identifying unmet dependencies in a working program, which can lead to deployment failures. It can ensure that the testing and staging environments are available when needed.

Prior to the announcement of the acquisition, UC4 folded much of the capabilities of Ventum software into its own automation software. UC4 actually purchased Ventum late in 2011, but it only announced the acquisition this week. The Ventum features will be introduced in version 2 of UC4 Automation Platform, due to be released within the next few weeks. Over the next few months, UC4 will customize the user interface of its product to accommodate all the functionality in the Ventum software. UC4 said it is retaining all of Ventum's employees.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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