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Cheyenne becomes Preferred provider

Computer Associates adds another trophy to its Unicenter enterprise systems management strategy.

Computer Associates (CA) has just added another trophy to its Unicenter enterprise systems management strategy.

What amounts to CA's third acquisition this fall was actually undertaken by the networking giant's new subsidiary, Cheyenne Software. Cheyenne closed the deal earlier this week with Preferred Systems, a privately-held software developer based in West Haven, Connecticut, according to Glenn Reyer, director of corporate marketing for Cheyenne.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the acquisition, which is effective immediately.

Reyer said PSI will become Cheyenne's fourth product group. PSI makes client-server tools that are used by network administrators to create, view, and maintain director services for Novell Netware and Microsoft Windows NT operating systems that are the widely used by big companies.

"Directory services is a hot new area and we are in this business to capitalize on emerging technology and opportunities," said Reyer of the acquisition. Like CA's merger with Cheyenne earlier this fall, the deal follows a lengthy relationship of developing products that work together, he said. As part of Cheyenne, the new group will work to integrate its products even more closely with Cheyenne's and CA's product lines and offer the directory management services to CA's Unicenter, Reyer added.

The DS Standard, DS Origin, and AuditWare products will continue to bear those product names. They will, however, be sold under the Cheyenne brand name, Reyer said.

Jack Serfass, who was PSI's chief executive officer and has stayed on as general manager of the new product group, said he expects the deal to open much broader distribution avenues for the products.

"Being able to come under the Unicenter umbrella will give our directory service products growth opportunities in vertical markets," he said, "and the technology itself has a lot of value [and broader market potential] to CA."

Serfass declined to provide sales and revenues figures for the little-known, privately held company, but he said revenues have seen double-digit growth in the last two years.

As a product group, PSI will continue to operate its development and marketing office in West Haven. Reyer and Serfass said all PSI employees will continue at their jobs. They said PSI will not interrupt shipments of its current products and may expand the operation and its work force in the coming year.

Yet W. Christopher Mortenson, managing director of the New York brokerage firm Alex. Brown & Sons, was unimpressed.

"I don't think it will have an impact on Computer Associates' business," Mortenson said. He said he was much more interested in the details of Cheyenne's offerings to CA.

The Cheyenne acquisition gives CA a greater presence in the low-end management space as it attempts to extend its strength in systems and network management to local area networks and desktops.

The two companies had been the subject of merger rumors for months. CA and Cheyenne already had extensive licensing and integration agreements between their product lines. The Preferred Systems acquisition is one of several Cheyenne has made over the past few months for a wide variety of technology.

Earlier this fall, CA also acquired Digital Equipment's AssetWorks asset and desktop management features for its Unicenter. Last year, the company picked up nearly a dozen of Digital's systems management products.