Compuware returns to its mainframe roots

Compuware has spun off its performance management division, which now operates as Dynatrace

Returning to its roots as a mainframe software provider, Compuware has spun off is application performance management software unit.

Users of mainframe optimization software and APM software could each benefit from the split. The companies acting separately should be better able to serve constituents than a monolithic single entity could, say the respective company CEOs. APM development is evolving furiously while mainframe software development tends to proceed at a more cautious pace.

The former Compuware APM business unit will operate as a separate company, under the name Dynatrace, the same name of the APM company Compuware acquired in 2011 for for $256 million.

The APM business unit has been operating under the Dynatrace name since September when Thoma Bravo announced plans to acquire Compuware for $2.5 billion in a move to privatize the formerly publicly traded company. Thoma Bravo announced Tuesday that the acquisition, and the spinoff, are complete.

The new Dynatrace also includes assets and personnel from Compuware's acquisition of Gomez for $295 million in 2009.

Chris O'Malley, formerly president of Compuware mainframe operations, is now Compuware's CEO. Compuware will focus entirely on providing software to optimize IBM System Z mainframe computers.

John Van Siclen, who was the general manager for the Compuware APM business unit, is now CEO of Dynatrace, a position he held prior to the Compuware acquisition.

The spinoff allows Thoma Bravo to sharpen focus of the two businesses, wrote Charles King, head of the Pund-IT research firm, in an email exchange.

"The two areas aren't mutually exclusive but they are individual enough to warrant discrete development and marketing efforts. Proceeding separately makes greater strategic sense than trying to walk in lockstep," King wrote.

The APM market, still fairly new, is quite competitive. APM allows businesses to monitor applications to see how well they are working and how often they are used. APM has become popular companies increasingly worry about the performance of customer-facing Web applications.

Dynatrace competes not only with innovative new APM providers such as New Relic and AppDynamics, but established enterprise software providers that have a hand in APM, namely, BMC, Dell, CA, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard.

As for Compuware, O'Malley hopes to reinvigorate the market for mainframe optimization software.

"The mainframe is still as relevant as ever," O'Malley said. "We're trying to raise the consciousness of the CIO to look at the mainframe not as legacy but as something that can be evolved and advanced to give them competitive advantage."

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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