Storage goliath EMC is boost its server management capabilities after announcing it will acquire Configuresoft, a maker of server configuration, change and compliance management software.

EMC decided to expand on its OEM partnership with Configuresoft and acquire the software maker outright for an undisclosed sum. This will help EMC broaden its management capabilities across the "entire IT information infrastructure," EMC executives say.

Configuresoft's Enterprise Configuration Manager (ECM) technology is already sold as EMC Server Configuration Manager, and Configuresoft's Configuration Intelligent Analytics (CIA) is sold as EMC Configuration Analytics Manager. EMC says the purchase will help customers automate management across virtualised environments.

"Customers are looking for new tools and processes to help them more effectively manage the virtualised data centre. Server configuration and change management are among the top challenges faced by IT," said Chris Gahagan, EMC senior vice president, in a press release. "With Configuresoft, we're gaining market-leading server configuration management solutions, giving customers the power they need to fully automate the data centre in compliance with new physical and virtual best practice policies."

The management technology acquisition won't be the first for EMC. The company acquired innovative network management start-up Smarts more than 5 years ago. EMC also added application discovery and mapping technologies with the 2006 acquisition of nLayers. By picking up Voyence in late 2007, EMC was able to incorporate network change and configuration management technology into its portfolio, and IT service management and ITIL best practices were the ultimate goal when EMC bought software maker Infra in 2008.

Industry watchers have speculated that EMC is working to displace one of the "Big 4" management software makers - BMC, CA, HP and IBM - with its management-centric acquisitions. But it is unclear if the Configuresoft purchase will help EMC compete for broader IT management dollars and change customers' perception of EMC as mainly a storage - and storage management - vendor.

"EMC's recent acquisitions, such as nLayers and Voyence, have placed it as a leading configuration vendor, but broader management coverage is questionable. It has some great weapons in its arsenal with Smarts and now Infra, but it must accelerate its M&A expansion and internal development to capitalise on its assets and enter the elite class of anchors," wrote Forrester Research analyst Glenn O'Donnell in a report discussing the leading management technology providers.

For Configuresoft, being acquired by EMC could help the company further develop its technology during difficult economic times.

"Becoming part of EMC is the right move at the right time - giving us the financial and technology resources of a proven leader in information management to take our market leading solutions to the next level," said Configuresoft CEO Alex Goldstein in a statement.

The transaction is expected to close in June. Following the completion of the acquisition, Configuresoft will become a part of EMC's Resource Management Software Group.