In order to facilitate the rapid deployment and updating of software code, especially for mobile, social, Big Data and cloud applications, IBM announced Monday its purchase of UrbanCode. The Cleveland, Ohio-based company has developed technology to dramatically hasten the delivery of updates or new applications, in support of a DevOps approach.
Terms of the deal were not made public, and IBM said it will continue to support UrbanCode's existing clients. The acquisition fits into IBM's DevOps strategy for speeding up and simplifying software development and delivery.
With UrbanCode software and Worklight technology, IBM said, applications can be developed and delivered within hours instead of days to mobile devices. UrbanCode software can also be used for development and delivery of other kinds of software, such as middleware or business intelligence.
IBM Worklight is an advanced mobile application platform, with a development environment, mobile-optimized runtime middleware, an application store and an analytics console.
UrbanCode provides tools for the rapid software development practice known as DevOps. As part of a DevOps suite of tools, UrbanCode's application release automation software, or ARA, is designed to automate the delivery of programs and their updates, going directly from the developers to devices and servers.
A central idea of DevOps, as the name implies, is to put the development shop closer to operations, so that the developers can have direct feedback from users and from metrics output. It overcomes the traditional path in large organizations, where developers send the finished application to distribution, which send it to system administrators or others to use it. Feedback under a traditional path can be intermittent, and a feedback loop to supply fixes and features can be convoluted and slow.
Key drivers of the DevOps approach are Internet companies and cloud-based software, in which new releases are made available online and updates are quickly generated that respond to user issues, which are fed back directly to the developers. In addition, Net companies are big users of open-source software, another example of a direct feedback loop to developers -- in large part because developers are often the users of open-source tools, and are able to directly offer fixes and new features.
In announcing the acquisition, IBM cited a study by its Institute for Business Value, in which most of the surveyed business leaders said that timely software development and delivery was "critical" to their competitiveness. However, only one-quarter of respondents felt that their teams could deliver software effectively as required.
Kristof Kloeckner, general manager of IBM Rational Software, said in a statement that IBM's acquisition of UrbanCode means the company is "uniquely positioned to help businesses from every industry accelerate delivery of their products and services to better meet client demands."
The IBM purchase resembles the acquisition last August of application deployment specialist VaraLogix by systems management company BMC, which was intended to increase BMC's DevOps capability.