With Virginia Rometty now installed in the cockpit of IBM, one of the things that many are waiting to see is whether she is going to continue the buying spree that appeared reinvigorated at the end of last year. The announcement that Big Blue has just bought UK-based Green Hat seems to suggest she will.
One of the other questions -- what kind of technologies is IBM looking to develop this year -- can also be found in the acquisition. Green Hat provides software that enables developers to test their products in the cloud.
Like everything cloud-based, the attraction here is the provision of testing capabilities that are considerably cheaper than conventional testing methods as the cloud can effectively incorporate testing hardware and software testing without having to create real-life labs.
So it’s cheaper, but they are also considerably more agile -- and that’s agile in the sense of responsive -- than traditional testing environments, which should make it attractive to companies working in the rapidly changing and expanding smartphone and tablet environments.
Like a lot of its smaller deals, IBM hasn’t disclosed the price it will ultimately pay for Green Hat, and it’s not a big company, even if it does have quite an impressive customer base.
Its attraction in current economic times is obvious. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, software testing represents more than 50% of overall development costs, and testing teams often spend upwards of 30% of their time managing the complexity of the test environment.
IBM, Green Hat
A joint statement from the company said IBM and Green Hat will enable users to maximize continuous integration of an application, including creating virtual protocols, message formats, services, customization and engagement with third-party software.
The Green Hat Tester tool called Virtual Integration Environment, allows programmers to simulate a portion of the n-tier application and plug its simulated inputs and outputs into the code that is being tested.
It will also simplify complex systems relying on cloud, Web services, messaging, SOA ESB (Enterprise Service Bus), BPM, CEP (Complex Event Processing), SAP and other distributed technologies.
The Green Hat software testing solutions will be offered through IBM Global Business Services’ Application Management Services (AMS).
Rometty has pledged to spend US$ 20 billion on acquisitions by 2015 so it seems unlikely that Green Hat will be the only one this year.