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1/7/2010
10:03 PM
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BMC To Acquire Phurnace

The startup is being picked up for its Java application management knowhow.

BMC Software, the Houston-based supplier of systems management software, is acquiring Phurnace Software, a supplier of assessment tools for automated Java application deployment, for an undisclosed amount.

Phurnace uses a set of red flames as its company symbol, and it's rise has been rapid from its start as a 2006 an entry in a business plan contest at the University of Texas at Austin's McCombs School of Business. The business plan was the brainchild of MBA student Daniel Nelson and economics major Robert Reeves, who became the company founders. Their plan won first place in the contest, according to Austin American Statesman Thursday.

The firm's flagship product is Phurnace Deliver, which assesses whether the configuration of a Java application and its application server are correct for optimal performance.

With applications being the focus of what cloud computing is all about -- that is, moving an application from the data center into the cloud and back again, or from cloud to cloud -- Phurnace's Java application knowhow helps system administrators deploy applications to either a traditional server, a virtual server or a cloud environment.

Phurnace boasts that it is a company of system administrators building products for system administrators. The Phurnace products will add to the BMC's existing change management and system management product lines. BMC is one of the Big Four systems management vendors.

Phurnace previously worked to integrate its products with BMC's BladeLogic systems management product for automated loading of Java applications onto data center blade servers. It also worked closely with another member of the Big Four, Hewlett-Packard, whose Server Automation products (formerly Opsware) do some of the same things that BMC products do. CA's Unicenter and IBM's Tivoli round out the four dominant system management product lines.

On its Web site, Phurnace says it is working on software that will allow customers to move applications from one environment to another or even from one application server to another, such as from Oracle WebLogic to IBM WebSphere or Red Hat JBoss.

Virtualization is a spur to application mobility. It used to be that an application was configured with its application server and deployed once and that determined its settings for life. A more flexible approach is beginning to emerge, as system administrators consider the possibility of deploying applications on virtual servers either in the data center or in the cloud.

Phurnace CEO Larry Warnock was hired in 2007 with 23 years experience as the former chief marketing officer of Vignette and marketing positions at OnLink Technologies, acquired by the former Siebel Systems, and Documentum, acquired by EMC. "We're excited to be acquired by another Texas company, which will rapidly accelerate our growth," Warnock said in the announcement of the acquisition. Phurnace had earlier raised $5 million in venture capital.

Founder Daniel Nelson is VP of products at Phurnace; Robert Reeves is CTO.

The acqusition is BMC's third in six months. In October, it acquired Tideway, a software dependency mapping firm. In August, it bought MQ Software, a supplier of middleware management software in Minneapolis.

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