Quest grabs NetPro to strengthen Windows management wares

Former competitors will combine software into super suite

Management vendor Quest Software Friday said it had acquired NetPro, a competitor that also offers tools to manage Microsoft infrastructure environments.

Quest spent US$78.7 million in cash to add more muscle to its Windows-based management tools, according to company officials. The two vendors, which competed hotly in the Windows management space, especially around security and Active Directory, plan to announce October 15 the road map for their new product set.

"We see this as an opportunity to be aligned with a lot of smart people on both sides," says Steve Dixon, Quest's vice president and general manager of its Windows business unit. Dixon says Quest does not plan to kill any products in the short term.

"We will do what is best for the mid- and small-market and what is best for the enterprise," he says. "This is a way to put more resources behind the products that we keep."

The two vendors have a number of overlapping management tools for such platforms as Active Directory, Exchange, SharePoint and SQL Server.

NetPro's lineup includes tools focused on security/compliance, infrastructure administration and identity/access.

Those tools include auditing, backup/recovery, policy enforcement, event log management, Exchange migration, group policy management, health/performance and user self-service password management.

"This was an unsolicited offer from Quest," says Kevin Hickey, CEO of NetPro. "The board deemed it a good offer. When you have investors they look for returns, and from a customer perspective there are a lot of users that still want a one-stop shop."

Quest has been active on the acquisition front in the past year. In January, the company bought PassGo and its identity and access management (IAM) technologies, which helped fill gaps in its cross-platform Vintela Authentication Services.

The company also bought Provision Networks, which develops desktop virtualization software, in November 2007.

In June 2007, Quest spent US$90 million for privately held ScriptLogic, which develops life-cycle management software for Windows-bases systems. Quest plans to fit the ScriptLogic suite of desktop, server and Active Directory management tools into its Windows management portfolio.

Quest also has been building out its identity management platform, with plans to add some identity federation software in the future.

NetPro has roughly 200 employees, many of which will stay on with Quest and work out of NetPro's Phoenix office. NetPro's office in Halifax, Nova Scotia will be closed.

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