Volume 3, Number 8 -- February 28, 2006

Sun Acquires Aduva for Patching Capabilities

Published: February 28, 2006

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Server and operating system maker Sun Microsystems announced last week that it is has acquired Aduva, a software company founded in 1999 that has carved out a niche for itself supplying a patch management tool for Linux and Solaris platforms.

Aduva is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, but does a lot of its development in Israel, as a fairly large number of small software companies do. Aduva's OnStage product has been designed to apply patches to Linux (Red Hat and Novell SUSE flavors) and Sun's own Solaris Unix operating system. OnStage can also automate the application of patches to the open source and mixed source software stacks that are often loaded on top of these three server platforms. Aduva is a member of Open Source Development Labs, and it has a pretty strong partnership with IBM, which may seem odd given Aduva's support of Solaris. But Solaris support is relatively recent--added in August 2005--while Aduva's OnStage patch manager was integrated with IBM's Tivoli Intelligent Orchestrator server provisioning tool (a product IBM got by buying a small company called ThinkDynamics) back in January 2005. When the Solaris support was announced, Aduva also announced that it was certified to manage Linux across the entire IBM server line, including mainframes, Power, and X86 servers. IBM, Intel Corp, BMC Software, and Evergreen Partners have all put venture capital into the company. While Aduva is privately held, and therefore does not report financial results, the company said last May that in its fiscal 2005 first quarter it had booked over $1m in sales and that OnStage was managing patches on over 20,000 servers and was managing over 20 percent of the Linux partitions on IBM mainframes. Why IBM didn't snap up Aduva seems a mystery.

For its part, Sun is acquiring Aduva not just because it wants to automate patch management on its customers' Solaris and Linux servers, but because it wants to offer an automated patch management service through the Sun Grid, the company's grid/utility computing farm. Sun will also embed OnStage in its Solaris software stack, which it is in the process of taking open source. (It seems likely that Sun will take the OnStage product open source as well, as it plans to do with its N1 server provisioning tools.) Sun says that administrators tell it that patch management is the biggest pain point, and that the biggest security vulnerability is the inability to keep systems patched in a continuous manner. Sun did not divulge the financial terms of the deal, but it did say the acquisition should be completed by the end of June.

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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Kevin Vandever,
Shannon O'Donnell, Victor Rozek, Hesh Wiener, Alex Woodie
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
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