The vendor carousel continues to spin…

It’s not an acquisition this time, but a rebranding/reselling agreement between BEA and AmberPoint. I was head down in my work and hadn’t seen this announcement until Google Alerts kindly informed me of a new link from James Urquhart, a blogger on Service Level Automation whose writings I follow. He asked what I think of this announcement, so I thought I’d oblige.

I’ve never been an industry analyst in the formal sense, so I don’t get invited to briefings, receive press releases, or whatever the other normal mechanisms (if there are any) that analysts use. I am best thought of as an industry observer, offering my own opinions based on my experience. I have some experience with both BEA and AmberPoint, so I do have some opinions on this. 🙂

Clearly, BEA must have customers asking about SOA management solutions. BEA doesn’t have an enterprise management solution like HP or IBM. Even if we just consider BEA products themselves, I don’t know whether they have a unified management solution across all of their products. So, there’s definitely the potential for AmberPoint technology to provide benefits to the BEA platform and customers must be asking about it. If this is the case, you may be wondering why didn’t BEA just acquire AmberPoint? First, AmberPoint has always had a strong relationship with Microsoft. I have no idea how much this results in sales for them, but clearly an outright acquisition by BEA could jeopardize that channel. Second, as I mentioned, BEA doesn’t have an enterprise management offering of which I’m aware. AmberPoint can be considered a niche management solution. It provides excellent service/SOA management, but it’s not going to allow you to also manage you physical servers and network infrastructure. So, this doesn’t wouldn’t sense on either side. BEA wouldn’t gain entry into that market, and AmberPoint would be at risk of losing customers as their message could get diluted by the rest of the BEA offerings.

As a case in point, you don’t see a lot of press about Oracle Web Services Manager these days. Oracle acquired this technology when they acquired Oblix (who acquired it when they acquired Confluent). I don’t consider Oracle a player in enterprise systems management, and as a result, I don’t think people think of Oracle when they’re thinking about Web Services Management. They’re probably more likely to think of the big boys (HP, IBM, CA) and the specialty players (AmberPoint, Progress Actional).

So, who’s getting the best out of this deal? Personally, I think this is great win for AmberPoint. It extends a sales channel for them, and is consistent with the approach they’ve taken in the past. Reselling agreements can provide strength to these smaller companies, as it builds on a perception of the smaller company as either being a market leader, having great technology, or both. On the BEA side, it does allow them to offer one-stop solutions directly in response to SOA-related RFPs, and I presume that BEA hopes it will result in more services work. BEA’s governance solution is certainly not going to work out of the box since it consists of two rebranded products (AmberPoint and HP/Mercury/Systinet) and one recently acquired product (Flashline). All of that would need to be integrated with their core execution platform. It will help BEA with existing customers who don’t want to deal with another vendor but desire an SOA management solution, but BEA has to ensure that there are integration benefits rather than just having the BEA brand.

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