Symantec buys ON Technology for $100m

Symantec has purchased ON Technology, a maker of remote PC management technology, for $100m (£59m).

Symantec has purchased ON Technology, a maker of remote PC management technology, for $100m (£59m).

ON makes products for network administrators to inventory and manage desktop computers, servers and mobile devices on local- and wide-area networks.

Symantec will use ON's technology to enhance its line of enterprise security administration products, with the goal of giving Symantec customers the ability to spot and patch security holes in their computer network.

For example, ON's iCommand product allows administrators to use a web-based portal to co-ordinate a variety of activities such as pushing out new operating systems, software applications or security patches to computers or mobile devices on their network, or to remote systems outside the organisation's firewall.

ON's technology is already being used in conjunction with Symantec's Ghost software cloning and restoration product to deploy Ghost "images" centrally (snapshots of an operating system or application configuration) which are used to restore a compromised or malfunctioning system.

While Ghost performs many of the same functions as ON's technology, it lacks features to track and manage large numbers of computers on a network, making it a tough sell for enterprise customers, according to Eric Ogren, an analyst at Yankee Group .

In recent months, Symantec has attempted to make Ghost better suited for enterprise use. The company released Ghost 8.0 Corporate Edition last week, which included features for sending out software hot fixes or operating system configuration changes to multiple workstations at once and reduce the amount of bandwidth needed to send Ghost images back and forth over the network.

With the ON technology, Symantec now has a "network aware" product that can do what Ghost does. If it is successfully integrated into Symantec's Enterprise Security Architecture, the ON technology will allow Symantec customers to manage network device security from their desktop or from a web interface over the internet, Ogren said.

The purchase of ON will will help the company compete against other, larger companies with an interest in network device management, including Microsoft.

Microsoft's Systems Management Server also enables companies to manage software deployment to PCs, servers and mobile devices centrally.

Paul Roberts writes for IDG News Service

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