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Oracle acquires Virtual Iron

Oracle continues its buying spree, snapping up Virtual Iron, a specialist in server virtualization management software.

Oracle continued its recent buying spree today, announcing that it has acquired Virtual Iron Software Inc., a Lowell, Mass.-based maker of server virtualization management software, for an undisclosed amount.

With the addition of Virtual Iron, Oracle hopes to enable customers to more "dynamically manage their server capacity and optimize their power consumption," said Wim Coekaerts, Oracle's vice president of Linux and virtualization engineering, in a prepared statement.

Oracle believes the marriage of Virtual Iron's core technology and Oracle's Virtual Machine (VM) server virtualization product will result in richer resource management across the company's full stack of enterprise software.

The acquisition is consistent with Oracle's larger strategy of offering "comprehensive" enterprise software management in order to facilitate more efficient management of application service levels, Coekaerts said.

Some analysts believe that what Virtual Iron adds to Oracle's virtualization management software portfolio overlaps somewhat with that of Sun Microsystems. But given Virtual Iron's focus on small and medium-sized companies, it could serve as a complement to similar products from Sun that are aimed at larger companies.

"I can't say [that] what Virtual Iron has overlaps 100% with what Sun has. But given Virtual Iron has a mid-market focus, you have to think this has a lot to do with it," said Gordon Haff, a principal IT adviser at Illuminata Inc., a market researcher in Nashua, N.H.

Another reason for the deal is to enable Oracle to better supplement its basic virtualization offerings.

"Oracle hasn't focused on the dynamic resource management part yet," Haff said. "They have the basic virtualization pieces and that is it."

Another incentive for Oracle's purchase is that Virtual Iron's added virtualization can help IT customers lower operating expenses as well as support green IT-based strategies, but without making tradeoffs in the quality of service.

Oracle has scheduled a press briefing for later today to offer further details on the deal.

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