IBM enhances network IT automation capabilities with Pliant acquisition

Tech giant makes strategic purchase to further boost software networking capabilities, offering customers the tools to enable network infrastructure observability, connectivity, control and automation across hybrid cloud environments

Noting that as enterprise network environments become increasingly dynamic, complex and disparate, meaning IT teams need automation tools to maximise value throughout their technology stack, IBM has acquired orchestration platform provider Pliant.

Founded in 2017, Pliant offers capabilities to automate network and IT infrastructure tasks and abstract these functions to the application layer, enabling applications (and developers) maximum control for simplified provisioning and management of infrastructure directly within applications themselves. These optimisations include infrastructure resource provisioning and management, traffic management, and configuration management for both traditional network and IT infrastructure and public clouds.

It boasts a library of out-of-the-box integrations with third-party suppliers, and the ability to integrate technology that has an application programming interface (API) or is command-line interface-enabled. Pliant is complementary with other API approaches, and supports deployments in private clouds and on-premises datacentres.

Talking about a specific use case for its technology and services in the realm of the retail industry, Pliant pointed to the fact that large retail organisations expanding their operations can struggle to manage their IT infrastructure and networks while increasing headcount to meet the growing demand for deployment, configuration and management services may not be an option. The company added that automating with traditional script-based methods may also present a challenge as organisations may find they lack the depth and breadth of coding skills required to be effective.

Pliant said that by deploying the approaches of low-code and no-code automation, it can greatly expand the reach and productivity of IT teams, and gives retail organisations increased flexibility in warehouse, inventory and network operations.

Financial details of the new deal have not been disclosed, but the move marks IBM’s second acquisition of 2024. With the acquisition of Pliant, IBM said it will now be able to provide clients with the ability to radically simplify the automation of their infrastructure and network with a tool that securely automates, integrates and connects the platforms, services and applications in their environments.

Delivered as both a client managed software and software-as-a-service product, Pliant’s design approach to automation is seen as aligning with IBM’s vision to build and grow a product portfolio that leverages low-code and no-code capabilities to make IT tools and skills accessible to a wider range of developers and engineers.

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The acquisition will extend the current Software portfolio – SevOneCloud Pak for Network Automation (CP4NA), Hybrid Cloud Mesh, IBM NS1 Connect and Edge Application Manager – to provide enterprises with products that enable network infrastructure observability, connectivity, control and automation across hybrid cloud environments.

In a blog post commenting on the acquisition, Andrew Coward, general manager of software-defined networking at IBM, said: “Pliant is the latest example of how IBM is innovating through a combination of R&D and strategic acquisitions to deliver the data, AI and automation solutions that businesses need to manage an increasingly complex network infrastructure.”

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