EMC Acquires Open Source Support Firm


EMC (NYSE: EMC) has acquired parts of an open source support company, but the storage giant isn't saying much about its plans for the acquisition.

EMC said in a statement that it has "acquired some of the assets of SourceLabs and has hired a number of the company's employees."

SourceLabs will continue to operate as a standalone company, EMC said, but the acquired assets will operate within EMC's Cloud Infrastructure Business.

Beyond that, the company isn't saying more.

SourceLabs offers support and management tools for Linux and open source Java environments, including diagnostic tools and information repositories and search tools. It also manages the open source SWiK project.

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Bob Laliberte said EMC could use SourceLabs' Linux management tools to bolster the management of its Decho (Mozy) and Atmos cloud products. "If you believe that cloud storage products are going to proliferate, it is going to be even more important to provide solid management," he said.

Laliberte said "there has been a lot of speculation" about which EMC group will get SourceLabs' technology, either the Atmos cloud infrastructure or the Decho cloud services unit. "I believe that this acquisition is rolling up under Harel Kodesh, the current CEO of Decho, who — reading between the lines — may have Atmos rolled under him, so he will have cloud services and cloud infrastructure, Atmos at least and perhaps Hulk," said Laliberte, who labeled his comments "just speculation."

Laliberte also wondered if EMC will replace its Mozy infrastructure with Atmos/Hulk, or keep the two separate.

Michael Azoff, a senior research analyst at Butler Group, said that because EMC's Decho business took an interest in SourceLabs, "it appears that they would be interested in the advanced data mining capabilities underlying SourceLabs. SourceLabs has a great repository and mining algorithms technology that they chose to apply in open source APM, but the technology has other applications, so one can see how SourceLabs carries on, at the same time earning revenue from the EMC interest."

Greg Schulz, senior analyst and founder of StorageIO group, said he doesn't necessarily expect a big push from EMC into open source similar to Sun's (NASDAQ: JAVA) open storage efforts. He also expects EMC to approach open source technologies with profitability in mind.

"Unlike others who may be carrying the flag and leading the charge up the open source hill at the expense of revenue, EMC can be thought of as the Everything Monetized Company, known for generating revenue, and thus I suspect that the phrase 'revenue prevention' does not exist in the EMC vocabulary and would be heresy to even think it," said Schulz.

EMC, he said, has "demonstrated that they do not have to invent every widget or component that gets added to their technology portfolio in order to monetize and succeed in the market."

Schulz said EMC, which is also the parent company of VMware (NYSE: VMW), "is well positioned to help clarify with their partner ecosystem the shape of future converged virtual computing and the physical resources, services and software tools needed to support those environments."

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