HP plans to buy datacentre automation software vendor Opsware for about $1.6 billion.

HP said on Monday that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Opsware in a cash tender deal that values the company at $14.25 per share. Opsware's stock was $10.28 at the close of Friday's trading.

Once the deal closes, HP plans to combine the Opsware software with its own enterprise IT management software, as the new acquisition becomes part of HP's software business.

"The acquisition of Opsware is intended to enable HP Software to help our customers resolve one of their critical pain points: controlling the increasing complexity and cost of managing the datacentre," Thomas Hogan, senior vice president of software at HP, said in a news release.

HP has been steadily expanding its business technology optimization portfolio over the last couple of years through acquisitions, including the purchases of Mercury Interactive and Peregrine Systems.

After HP has closed the acquisition, the vendor expects to appoint Opsware CEO Ben Horowitz as head of its business technology optimisation organisation, reporting to Hogan.

Subject to regulatory approval, HP hopes to close the purchase before the end of October.

Opsware System software automates datacentre operations including provisioning, configuration and deployment.