IBM to net real-time capabilities with DataMirror buy

Customers' increasing need for real-time functionality in data integration software has led IBM to make a bid for DataMirror

IBM is looking to add real-time capabilities to its data integration software by buying Canadian firm DataMirror for about C$170 million (AUD$186 million).

The two companies have entered into a definitive agreement for IBM to acquire all outstanding DataMirror common shares for C$27 per share, they announced Monday. IBM's offer represents a premium of 19.4 percent compared with the average trading price of DataMirror's common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange over the last 20 days. In Monday midmorning trading, DataMirror's shares rose 4.2 percent on the news up from Friday's close of C$22.5.

Subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, the deal is set to close in the third quarter of this year.

DataMirror's Transformation Server software identifies and captures data that has been added, updated or deleted and enables the changed information to be delivered in real time to processes, applications and databases.

IBM previously partnered with DataMirror, pointing customers to the vendor whenever they needed heterogenous real-time change data capture software. However, recently, it became clear that IBM needed to own the technology since more and more of its users required it.

"DataMirror's capabilities are very important for our Information on Demand strategy," said Michael Curry, director, product strategy and management, information platform and solutions at IBM. Having the ability to note data changes as they occur and react accordingly is vital for users of dynamic warehouses, master data management and service-oriented architecture, he added.

Information on Demand is designed to give users access to all kinds of data regardless of where it's stored in their enterprises. A key piece of that strategy is Information Server, data integration software IBM released last year, based on technology it acquired through the 2005 US$1.1 billion purchase of Ascential.

IBM plans to continue offering DataMirror's data integration, auditing, high availability and data replication software as stand-alone products as well as incorporating them into Information Server, Curry said.

"We've already seen very strong traction for Information Server," he added. Acquiring DataMirror is testimony to the fact that the Information Server business is growing so well that IBM continues to invest in the product, Curry said.

IBM expects to release a more detailed road map for DataMirror once the acquisition has closed. DataMirror will become part of IBM's Information Management Software unit, which is headed up by Ambuj Goyal.

IBM was particularly attracted to DataMirror by its very broad support of different types of data, Curry said. The Canadian vendor provides data integration on Windows, Unix, IBM's System i servers and mainframes and supports databases from IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Sybase. DataMirror also has its own Java database called PointBase.

There's no real overlap between DataMirror's technologies and what IBM already has, Curry said. IBM already provides some data capture capabilities but they're limited to its DB2 database.

IBM intends to continue DataMirror's partnerships with other vendors, notably BEA Systems, Business Objects, Microsoft and Oracle. Such relationships are vital to ensure that IBM can be effective in offering heterogenous data integration, Curry said.

With its headquarters in Markham, Ontario, DataMirror has around 2,200 customers. IBM hopes to retain all of the firm's 220-plus staff, Curry said.

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