Oracle continues its rentless acquisition spree of small specialist businesses, with the acquisition of application configuration management provider mValent for an undisclosed sum.

Oracle is remaining pretty tight lipped about the terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the first half of 2009. However, it has said that it expects mValent to "enhance Oracle Enterprise Manager", its systems management tool that monitors and automates middleware, database and application administration.

"Effective application configuration management is increasingly important as businesses look to improve operating efficiencies," said Richard Sarwal, senior VP, Oracle Applications and Systems Management in a statement. "With the addition of mValent, Oracle expects to be able to address this need by providing customers with the ability to collect, compare and reconcile deep configuration information of complex systems."

mValent is known for its Integrity product, which automates manual tasks to detect and manage assets, and provides a view of all of the configuration dependencies from an application-centric perspective. It manages updates and changes to those assets, deals with any compliance issues that may arise, and enforces consistency in configuration settings across legacy and distributed environments.

mValent is privately held and is based in Waltham, Massachusetts. The company was founded back in 2002, and according to the Wall Street Journal, it has received $20 million (£13.7 million) in funding over the years from the likes of Charles River Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners and Polaris Venture Partners. MValent had revenues around $3 million in 2007, according to Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 list, and the company said that its revenue grew 125 percent in 2008.

As Oracle has not disclosed a purchase price, there has been some speculation that the purchase price was significantly lower than the amount of funding it has received.

Sandy Rogers, an analyst at research company IDC who has followed mValent, is quoted in the WSJ as saying that while the company's technology is highly regarded, it isn't the kind of software that lends itself to rapid growth. Oracle probably got it for some small sum, she is quoted as saying.

Oracle's last eleven acquisitions have all been private companies that cater to specific niches, like last year's acquisition of ClearApp, which makes software that manages the performance of composite applications within SOA (service-oriented architecture).

Until the deal closes, mValent will continue to operate an as independent entity.