One of the clearest testaments to the complex nature of the systems management market is the dearth of market research statistics sizing the market and charting out the relative positions of the leading players. While everyone acknowledges that the market is very big and growing fast, no-one is prepared to put figures on exactly how big and how fast. Part of the problem is that all of the perceived systems management leaders (IBM/Tivoli, Computer Associates and Hewlett-Packard) refuse to break out revenue figures for their systems management product lines. This, combined with the complex nature of the systems management task itself – which has spawned a market for hundreds of ‘best of breed’ point tools – means that what is currently (probably) one of the hottest sectors in computing, is also one of the least understood. Most of the hype in the systems management market has centered on the development of frameworks – unifying architectures designed to allow the integration of best of breed point products from a wide range of vendors. Tivoli, now an IBM subsidiary, was the first company to popularize the framework ideal (through the Tivoli Management Environment) and has profited handsomely, posting high double digit growth over the last couple of years. Blistering growth rates A $50m company when bought by IBM in 1995, it is now the central focus of IBM’s entire systems management business which, across all platforms, is believed to amount to in excess of $1bn. This figure does not, however, necessarily make IBM/Tivoli the leader in this market. Computer Associates claims revenues of close on $1bn for its Unicenter systems management offering and says that sales of the product are growing at close on 40%. While IBM/Tivoli and CA battle it out for the right to the overall systems management crown, Hewlett-Packard is also making a somewhat delayed assault on the market. It does, however, already have a significant beachhead in the form of its OpenView network management suite, which, HP claims, accounts for revenues in the region of $500m. Outside of this leading pack, there are plenty of other companies enjoying blistering growth rates on the back of burgeoning systems management demand. Compuware, the testing tools giant, says that its systems management business is growing in excess of 70% and that some of the product lines in the unit are the fastest growing in the company’s history. Even former mainframe stalwarts BMC Software and Candle are experiencing significant growth as they re-target their product lines to address heterogeneous system environments. The move to align systems management technology more closely with business processes and the introduction of increased intelligence into the products in the form of agents will, however, put inevitable strain on some of the smaller players, leading to consolidation. These are exciting – and stressful – times.
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