Merger Creates One-Stop Shop

FRAMINGHAM (03/02/2000) - Users could now have one company to go to get their Windows NT and Windows 2000 network performance monitoring, testing and management software.

So claim executives from companies NetIQ Corp. and Mission Critical Software Inc., which last week announced they were merging in a $2.7 billion deal. NetIQ makes application and server management software for Windows NT.

Simultaneously, Mission Critical, which provides software for directory management and administration for Windows NT-based networks, announced it was buying Ganymede Software Inc., a maker of network performance management software for $171.2 million in stock. Products resulting from the merger should hit the market sometime this spring or summer, executives say.

The resulting company, which has yet to be named, will provide Windows NT and Windows 2000 server based networks with a wide-reaching set of administration and management tools that span the network from the server to the end user.

Mission Critical and NetIQ are strikingly similar companies with some similar products - facts that lead observers to believe some products could face extinction.

Product overlap

There is indeed management product overlap, says Philip Mendoza, an analyst at IDC, a consultancy in Framingham, Mass. For instance, both vendors have user administration tools that do some similar server and application performance monitoring - NetIQ has AppManager and Mission Critical has Operations Manager.

However, the NetIQ AppManager product is older and more mature, and the Mission Critical Operation Manager tools will probably get rolled into it, Mendoza says.

But the merged firm is not planning to discontinue any products, says Rick Pleczko, vice president of marketing at Mission Critical, although there will be some integration. There are major differences between the lineups of the two companies, he says.

For instance, Mission Critical's product line is tied more closely to Microsoft's Active Directory. Moreover, there are administrative tools to ensure Active Directory is always available to the network. The tools also act as watchdog so only authorized personnel can access Active Directory and make changes, Pleczko says.

He says Mission Critical's Operation Manager product studies the event logs of NT servers and watches for problems. However, NetIQ generally works on a higher level, and monitors the specific applications on the network - particularly those that are handling e-business operations. And if a piece of software is malfunctioning, such as an e-business transaction server, then NetIQ will issue an alert or launch a script to heal the application.

Ganymede is considerably different than the other companies in that it's more focused on offering products that monitor network performance. It has two products: Chariot, which tests end-to-end network performance using agents; and Pegasus, which measures response times and throughput for network traffic and automatically sets performance thresholds.

One user who spoke on the condition of anonymity says he hopes the merger brings about more tightly integrated products. "The combination of NetIQ expertise and Mission Critical's monitoring engine will be a great combination in one product."


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