IBM acquires BuildForge

Rational development

IBM has announced it has acquired BuildForge Inc, a privately held software company based in Texas.

As is now the rule for such acquisitions, no financial details of the deal were revealed. BuildForge specialises in software tools that help automate the build-and-release processes associated with application development and delivery.

In addition to accelerating software build-and-release cycles, the combination of the tools of BuildForge and IBM's Rational Software Division will help automate, audit, and document the software development process thereby greatly enhancing the governance of the software production process.

The transaction will see around 40 members of staff transfer to IBM in addition to the technology itself.

The main software tools involved in the acquisition are BuildForge FullControl, which is used to manage and control builds and releases during the software development cycle; BuildForge FullThrottle, a build accelerator to execute processes concurrently across server pools; BuildForge Prism, a workstation IDE client providing developer self-service capabilities; and BuildForge Adaptors, a range of tools to integrate BuildForge products with a wide variety of third-party change and configuration management tools.

IBM initially plans to make the BuildForge tools available without any change while it decides on how to market the tools in the longer term and to evaluate the potential for further product integration.

IBM has invested considerable time and effort over the course of the last three years since its acquisition of Rational enhancing and expanding its application/software development solutions. For the many organisations that develop software systems or applications, the necessity to create and release software on shorter time scales grows ever stronger. At the same time, businesses are under greater pressure than at any time in their history to demonstrate that all facets of their operations, including software development, work in strict accord with an expanding battery of regulatory and compliance requirements. It goes without saying that it is now expected that all code released into use be of exceptionally high quality while the associated production costs must, of course, be minimised.

The combination of BuildForge components and IBM's Rational systems will create a software development package that could attract a variety of potential users.

While IBM Rational is a platform deployed very widely around the world, BuildForge has a relatively small, though high-quality, customer base, the majority of it located in North America. Making BuildForge available via IBM's extensive sales and partner channels clearly holds great potential to expand usage of the tools and there is likely to be great interest, especially in the areas where governance and regulatory management are important, ie, most places.

Equally, Rational's customers should find BuildForge straight forward to utilise as a large proportion of the existing customer base of BuildForge make use of the IBM technology. However, IBM will need to take some effort into marketing BuildForge in Europe and further afield.

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