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Cassatt Collapses into CA

CA says it’s picking up Cassatt’s engineering team and adding its widgetry to its infrastructure management solutions

After weeks of slow-moving negotiations and due diligence, CA has bought what it describes as "certain data center automation and policy-based optimization expertise and assets from Cassatt," the failed Bill Coleman start-up that used up $100 million in venture money on its way to this inglorious end.

CA isn't saying what it paid but the 451 Group figures it's a "low multiple." It thinks Cassatt did about $12 million last year, a figure that could be high. Cassatt only had a dozen customers - and a promising pipeline according to what Coleman said a few weeks ago. He has since become telephone and email shy.

Cassatt had a problem figuring out exactly what it wanted to be during its six-year run. Since the cloud chatter started last year, it's identified with that.

CA was Cassatt's last shot at anything that resembled a dignified exit. The start-up, which liked to think of itself as being ahead of its time and too disruptive, as a company whose failure lay in vastly underestimating the social and cultural challenges its data center automation presented to the customer's entrenched staff, had tried peddling itself to all the brand names and couldn't cut a deal.

Maybe that's because a 30-second elevator description of Cassatt would have taken 20 minutes. Explaining what it did was never Cassatt's strong suit and that was apparently because it didn't know itself and couldn't get backing for what might have been in demand like HPC or disaster recovery. It can after all fail over and restart an entire data center in 45 minutes without any human intervention.

The software it started with from Unlimited Scale reportedly didn't work and Cassatt never settled on a fallback position, effectively becoming an industrial chameleon taking its coloration from the latest buzzword.

Anyway, a continent away from Cassatt's Silicon Valley digs, CA says it's picking up Cassatt's engineering team and adding its widgetry to its infrastructure management solutions.

Cassatt CTO and EVP of product development Rob Gingell and Cassatt chief scientist and co-founder Steve Oberlin have joined CA, along with their team of developers, engineers and other key employees. A few weeks ago that was around 50 people.

Coleman, who started BEA and was its first CEO, isn't going along.

CA says it has also picked up "several" Cassatt patents and patent applications, as well as other IP, which sounds like all of it.

What CA winds up doing with Cassatt remains to be seen. Cassatt's next-generation product, code named Skynet after the fictional self-aware AI computer system in the Arnold Schwarzewnegger movie "The Terminator," was supposed to blur the lines between data centers.

In a statement, CA's chief architect Donald Ferguson said, "Cassatt invented an elegant and innovative architecture and algorithms for data center performance optimization. Incorporating Cassatt's analysis and optimization capabilities into CA's world-class business-driven automation solution will enable cloud-style computing to reliably drive efficiencies in both on-premises, private data centers and off-premises, utility data centers. We believe the result will be a uniquely comprehensive infrastructure management approach, spanning monitoring, analysis, planning, optimization and execution."

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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