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In a move to enter the burgeoning SaaS-based IT management market, Citrix Online (NASDAQ:CTXS) announced its acquisition of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Paglo Labs on Wednesday. The first fruit of the acquisition is an integrated web-based platform for monitoring, controlling and supporting IT infrastructure.

Dubbed GoToManage, the new service lets Citrix Online tap into the growing demand for software-as-a-service (Saas)-based IT management, a market Forrester Research predicts will reach $4 billion in 2013. Citrix Online is positioning the latest addition to its online services portfolio as an affordable alternative to premise-based software.

I expect that as more enterprises experiment and adopt more mixed-hosted services -- including cloud, SaaS, IaaS, and outsourced ecosystems solutions -- that web-based management capabilities will become a requirement. In order to manage across boundaries, you need management reach that has mastered those boundaries. On-premises and traditional IT management is clearly not there yet.

Elizabeth Cholawsky, vice president of Products and Services at Citrix Online, explains the reasoning behind the acquisition:

“Our customers increasingly tell us they are interested in adding IT management services to our remote support capabilities. With the growing acceptance of SaaS and the increasing use of IT services in small- and medium-sized businesses, we decided IT management reinforced our remote support strategy.”

The Paglo puzzle piece

According to IDC, Citrix Online was the remote support market leader in 2008 with a 34.7 percent global share via its GoToAssist services. IDC also pegs Citrix Online as the third largest SaaS vendor in the world based on 2007 revenue, but Citrix Online needed Paglo-like log analysis technology in order to offer its customers the next puzzle piece in its full SaaS picture.

Paglo has made a name for itself providing SaaS-based IT search and management services. In short, Paglo helps companies harness and analyze the information explosion coming from all their computer, server, network and log data. Paglo helps companies improve operating efficiencies, gain a clearer understanding of true IT costs and meet compliance requirements.

Now, Paglo serves as the foundation for GoToManage. GoToManage creates an IT "system of record" to give businesses with the ability to discover and identify all network devices, monitor critical servers and applications in real-time, manage network usage, and track configuration changes. Like other Citrix Online products, GoToManage can be accessed from anywhere, and doesn’t require costly server infrastructure.

A seamless transition?

With GoToManage, Citrix Online is once again disrupting the traditional IT model. Brian de Haff, CEO of Paglo, expects a seamless integration for Paglo customers and GoToAssist customers that tap into the new service. With behind-the-scenes integration completed, customers can click on a link and instantly access GoToManage. De Haff also expects Paglo customers to adopt GoToAssist and use the two services in tandem.

“When we look across the Paglo customer base, the integration of monitoring with remote support is by far the number one requested feature that customers are asking for,” de Haff says. “So bringing these technologies together is a terrific win for the customers of both companies.”

Cholawsky declined to comment whether Citrix Online will make additional acquisitions to add to its portfolio, which also includes GoToMyPC, GoToMeeting, GoToAssist, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining and GoView. What she did say is that Citrix Online is witnessing a large growth spurt, which she expects to continue.

“We’re constantly looking at partners and acquisitions,” Cholawsky says. “With the venture capital investments in smaller companies with great technologies over the past couple of years, acquisitions are a terrific way to grow our company. But whether we develop more organically or go out and partner closely or do more acquisitions, we’ll be investing heavily in the SaaS market.”

Financial terms of the Paglo acquisition were not disclosed.

Disclosure: Paglo is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.