BMC is revamping its product line, consolidating software packages, introducing lightweight agent technology, and simplifying its licensing.

The company will also do away with the Patrol brand it has touted since acquiring the system management technology in 1994 and will reinvent its product portfolio under the name Performance Manager. Among the new offerings planned is Performance Manager for Servers, a combination of Patrol for Unix and Patrol for Windows.

The decision comes a month after the company announced a 12 percent cut in staff following poor financial results.

The changes won't be in name alone. BMC has redesigned its core software so customers can get agent-based and agentless products under the same licence. Previously, customers needed to buy Patrol and Patrol Express separately.

BMC is also introducing a new lightweight agent, giving users three choices of how to collect system data, plus advisory software to help you figure out just how much or how little agent software you need to deploy.

"We can advise people during installation - you choose what you want to monitor, and we take a decision on whether you need an agent or not, based on best practice," said BMC's European field manager Kym Wood.

"We are trying to get away from requiring agents," she added. "The lightweight local presence is a middle way, it's just enough code to grab a specific metric, say, automatically provisioned, and much easier to maintain than the full agent. It's unique for us." The light agent is due for release around December, she said.

It would be a lot easier for all concerned if operating systems were adequately instrumented as standard, Wood added, but for now she said BMC would focus on providing a single system view, regardless of how the information is collected.

As part of this, products within the Performance Manager line will share a database, a console for configuration and provisioning, and a user interface for reporting, called Performance Manager Portal.

"The trend right now among management vendors is to fix all the installation, integration and performance problems in their existing tools and supplement them with features to help IT managers get a consistent way to measure performance and availability across their network infrastructure, security and applications," said George Hamilton, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group.

Industry watchers say BMC needed to do something to breathe life into its $1.4 billion business. The company announced last month that its latest quarterly revenue would fall below expectations. It cited customers’ delayed spending as the reason.

"BMC, and in particular Computer Associates, this year really have to prove they are going to deliver on their product plans to customers to maintain their installed bases," Hamilton added.

That includes sorting out and integrating technologies obtained via acquisitions such as Calendra, Marimba and OpenNetwork to fill out its long-term business service management strategy. BMC has named Tom Bishop, formerly with Vieo and Tivoli, to lead its technology direction as CTO.