Olivier Le Moal - stock.adobe.co

Dell Moogsoft AIOps buy could start filling gaps post-VMware

Dell's purchase of Moogsoft this week could help it regain some enterprise software appeal it lost when it spun out VMware. But the future is unclear for Moogsoft users.

Industry watchers saw a chance to regain lost territory in Dell's acquisition of Moogsoft, but the implications for existing customers of the AIOps vendor are murkier.

Dell disclosed it had acquired Moogsoft in a brief press release Wednesday, which did not include financial terms or details about where the company will fit into Dell's existing products.

Moogsoft, founded in 2012, was among the earliest competitors in AIOps, which got a wave of hype in 2017 and 2018. The company had raised more than $90 million in venture funding, the latest a $40 million series D round in 2018. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

"This transaction will further enhance Dell's AIOps capabilities, as part of its longstanding approach of embedding AI functionality within its product portfolio and as a critical component of its 'multicloud by design' strategy," according to the Dell release.

To one analyst, this seems to refer to Dell's Apex self-service cloud management console, which integrates with service providers and container management products outside the Dell portfolio such as Microsoft Azure, VMware Tanzu and Red Hat OpenShift. It's one of the relatively few enterprise software products Dell kept when it spun off VMware in 2021.

Are they going to be an enterprise software company to be reckoned with again? Maybe they could be, but they lost a lot of opportunity since VMware.
Andi MannGlobal CTO and founder, Sageable

"It seems that it is a good purchase by Dell to start to plug the hole left when they parted ways with VMware," said Rob Strechay, lead analyst for TheCube, an enterprise tech media company. "It is needed as part of the Apex strategy."

Dell already has a product it markets as AIOps in CloudIQ, which was integrated with Dell's PowerEdge servers in January. A Dell spokesperson declined to comment on how Moogsoft will fit in alongside that product in Dell's portfolio, but said more details will become available after the deal closes.

According to publicly available information about CloudIQ, its primary focus is on automating the management of Dell infrastructure. Moogsoft's claim to fame so far is in event correlation, alert reduction and incident response, and it is infrastructure vendor neutral.

"This is how cloud computing gets managed," said Andi Mann, global CTO and founder of Sageable, a tech advisory and consulting firm in Boulder, Colo. "Are they going to be an enterprise software company to be reckoned with again? Maybe they could be, but they lost a lot of opportunity since VMware."

'50-50 chance that Moogsoft survives as is'

For AIOps users who bought Moogsoft early in the development of the market, Dell might not be the top choice as a new parent company, analysts said.

"As a Moogsoft user, I would be concerned if new features would primarily be built around Dell infrastructure," said Larry Carvalho, an independent analyst at RobustCloud. "If Moogsoft stays independent for any infrastructure, it could benefit users if Dell pumps more effort into innovating the product."

That's a very big if, according to Strechay.

"I would say that there is a 50-50 chance that Moogsoft survives as is for the next six months to a year as the plans for integration are hatched," he said. "In the short term, it more than likely saves the technology and keeps it viable."

Stages of the AIOps process.
Moogsoft's AIOps tools are primarily known for their inference and root cause analysis for incident response, among the most common applications for AIOps.

Industry sources said the company had been seeking a buyer as its cash ran low some five years after its last funding round, and "it would seem that it was a bit of a fire sale from the Moogsoft side of things," Strechay said.

Given general economic headwinds and a glut of IT monitoring, observability and AIOps vendors launched in the last five years, however, such consolidation will continue, multiple analysts said. And despite the upheaval caused by the VMware spinoff, Dell remains a familiar supplier for IT operations pros who are also Moogsoft's primary user base.

"Fundamentally, Dell's people are sys admins," Mann said. "[Dell] is buying expertise, [and] buying a customer base of advanced IT operations people."

Still, a company with a more established footing in IT service management software such as ServiceNow, IBM or Splunk would probably have an easier time plugging Moogsoft's intellectual property into its existing tools, said Andy Thurai, an analyst at Constellation Research.

Moogsoft also faced an innovator's dilemma in recent years as newer competitors integrated more smoothly with cloud-native technologies and offered easier implementations, Thurai said.

"[Moogsoft] started out with more of a hybrid or data center [product] and was not as good with cloud-native," he said. "It was more a legacy stack and outdated, hard to implement and hard to change -- especially the implementation portion of it."

Beth Pariseau, senior news writer at TechTarget Editorial, is an award-winning veteran of IT journalism. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @PariseauTT.

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