CA is to buy Cybermation, a maker of enterprise workload automation software. The company said that the acquisition would augment CA's workload automation product portfolio, consisting of applications such as Unicenter AutoSys Job Management and NetMaster.

"[The acquisition] will help us fulfil our vision for enterprise workload automation and provide customers with unprecedented control and automation of production workloads," said Alan Nugent, senior vice president and general manager of CA's Enterprise Systems Management business unit.

Cybermation will provide CA with technology to help network managers consolidate multiple scheduling tools across platforms, operating systems, applications and databases to provide a centralised management platform, said CA. Despite talk of mainframe products losing steam, IDC estimates the job scheduling software market will grow to $1.8 billion in 2007.

"The mainframe market remains profitable and extremely large," says Rich Ptak, founder and principal analyst of Ptak, Noel and Associates. "The mainframe presence remains massive - it offers an architecture, management infrastructure, job and transaction visibility and control that is ideal for emerging, service-based, componentised solutions."

Typically job-scheduling software tracks the performance and completion of scheduled jobs and send alerts when a slowdown in batch processing could affect a business service, such as check processing or order e-mail notifications. With batch processing, a group of similar requests is stored and then executed at one time, without intervention from a user.

Ptak says this acquisition could give CA the technology is needs to help its customers adopt tools that can automatically adjust workloads based on business needs.

"For most serious enterprise operations, workload management has to include job scheduling - the acquisition of Cybermation adds an important tool to CA's solution suite," Ptak adds.

Stephen Elliot, a senior analyst with IDC, says Cybermation's technology bridged a gap between mainframe and distributed job-scheduling management by providing a "unified product set." The acquisition brings that technology in house for CA and also eliminates a key competitor in the market that IDC says CA dominated with more than 20 percent market share back in 2004.

"This is a good deal for CA, as Cybermation is a best-of-breed product for event-driven job scheduling. Cybermation has chipped away at the large system management vendors in this space, and their architecture and interfaces are well liked among users," Elliot says.

Yet, as with any acquisition, to succeed CA will need to establish a clear product roadmap and communicate well with customers. "CA must communicate to its CA-7 customers what the architecture and migration roadmap will look like, and keep IBM and BMC at bay while customers ponder the move," Elliot says.

Last year, CA augmented its mainframe portfolio by acquiring technology from Infosec. At that time, CA described the software as a mainframe identity and access management solution that protects enterprise IT environments by removing unused IDs.