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Deal gives Tibco solid spot in mainframe migration biz

With IBM's mainframe migration business in their sights, Tibco announced Tuesday that it has bought ObjectStar, a serious player in the mainframe integration solutions market.

Tibco Software Inc. announced last week that it has acquired ObjectStar, a privately held mainframe integration solutions provider. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tibco competes with IBM in the native mainframe migration market.

By bringing in ObjectStar's cache of native mainframe solutions, Tibco has beefed up its mainframe integration capabilities. It's a move the company hopes will allow customers to integrate new applications with legacy mainframe databases and processes more cost effectively.

"The combination of Tibco's existing mainframe integration technology and ObjectStar's native mainframe integration technologies enhances our real-time business infrastructure offering and positions us to more effectively compete with IBM in this market," said Vivek RanadivÉ, Tibco chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Taking on IBM in the mainframe migration space is no small feat.
Jim Balderston
Senior Industry AnalystSageza

According to Jim Balderston, a senior industry analyst with Sageza Group, mainframe migration has become more sophisticated than just moving applications to smaller boxes. Because of increased data demands, new features have trickled down the product line, to the point where a $10,000 server will now feature advanced mainframe tools such as virtualization.

"If you look at mid-tier companies, they are producing, creating, storing, accessing and managing data at rates that are doubling every year. They are [dealing with] data at a rate that would have been seen only in a large enterprise five or seven years ago," Balderston said. "If you have to manage all that, it makes sense they'll need more powerful tools to do it. … It's a trend everyone's dealing with up and down the enterprise food chain."

The most obvious benefit for Tibco is that it can now provide customers with a wider selection of mainframe connectivity options. The addition of native integration capabilities for CA-IDMS, Adabas, and Model 204 databases should significantly bolster Tibco's product offerings in the financial services and government vertical markets.

Since many large organizations have mainframe systems that support business critical applications, Tibco doesn't view them as legacy systems, but as systems that are being actively developed. Because mainframe programs have to be integrated with the rest of the application portfolio, integration systems can be critical to an organization's flexibility.

Balderston gives Tibco credit for taking aim at the big boys, though he jokes that if it starts beating Big Blue in the space, it might end up becoming part of IBM before it's all said and done.

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"Taking on IBM in the mainframe migration space is no small feat … [but] the fact [Tibco] is still around and has survived through all the ups and down tells me they must be doing something right," Balderston said. "But if they offer technology that is superior to IBM, and it's something that customers are going to start using, I wouldn't be surprised at all if down the road IBM says, 'OK, we're going to buy you.'"

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Luke Meredith, News Writer

Dig Deeper on IBM system z and mainframe systems

Mainframe shops held hostage, Itanium Solutions Alliance says The Itanium Solutions Alliance -- a consortium of OEMs, software manufacturers and integrators focused on the Itanium platform -- announced this week that it was joining the Mainframe Migration Alliance (MMA), a group of companies that advocate moving mainframe workloads onto the Microsoft platform. In this Q&A, we talk to Robert Shiveley, a product line marketing manager for the server platform group at Intel Corp., about the benefits of migrating off the mainframe and what makes Itanium architecture a good destination.

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