IT Forum: Quest buys desktop virtualisation specialist Provision

In a week dominated by talk of virtualisation, Quest Software has agreed a deal to acquire privately-owned virtualisation specialist Provision Networks, to bolster its existing base of virtualisation technologies and management tools.

A leading Microsoft partner, Quest is readying a number of products and support technologies to work with Microsoft's move into enterprise virtualisation. The Provision acquisition adds Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) expertise and technology that will prove key in supporting enterprises looking to virtualise corporate desktops and clients within the data centre.

"If you look back at our acquisition history, its all been around buying people and products. We don't just buy revenue streams and cash in the bank. We need the expertise and the guidance that these people can bring to our business," said Joe Baguley, global product director at Quest Software.

"If you have a look at what we did with investments such as Vizioncore, its been about understanding market segments and serving new customer segments with new and evolving technologies. In the case of Provision, there are a great deal of integration points and technology that can be shared between the two organisations," he added.

Quest acquired a stake in Vizioncore, which specialises in VMware and Citrix virtualisation, earlier this year.

"We support any Xen-based platform, we support Microsoft, we support VMware, we are pretty much platform agnostic and so is Quest," said Peter Ghostine, chief executive and co-founder of Provision Networks.

"Provision will continue as a division of Quest, allowing existing customers and Provision products to continue and for the Provision business to maintain existing customers and support contracts," he said.

For customers, the deal is expected to remain transparent, with no planned changes to existing products and roadmaps. Provision will continue intact as a division of Quest and will maintain its own indirect sales model.

"None of our products are being axed or pushed to end of life early," said Ghostine. "From a marketing prospective, we might have changes in brand and product names, but I do not expect to see any major changes in the near future."

The two companies have been in discussions for some time about a deal, and have already been collaborating on technology licensing and reuse.

"We announced a project with Quest's Vizioncore a few months ago where we licensed Vizioncore's virtualisation technology, with the aim of allowing users to view and deploy a virtual desktop on the road," explained Ghostine.

"In turn, the virtual desktop on the road is a technology we have been talking to some of our larger customers about, such as some of our insurance industry customers, as it allows users in a disconnected mode to maintain a protected, policy-driven working environment regardless of the hardware in use," added Baguley.

Quest is investing heavily in virtualisation, seeing it a key technology not only for improving efficiency and standardisation within the IT department, but also for improving security inside and outside the enterprise, and protecting key electronic processes and services.

"In two to three years time, even things like mobile banking, for example, will be VDI based, as banks look to secure virtual images from trusted sources to secure the remote banking environment," Baguley said.