Light Reading

Dell to Acquire Force10

Craig Matsumoto
News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
7/20/2011
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Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL) announced Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Force10 Networks Inc. , a move that would add high-speed networking to Dell's data-center offerings.

Dell's portfolio already includes servers, storage and some networking. Force10, which started life as a high-end, 10Gbit/s Ethernet switch vendor, has been tuning its business for low-latency networking and the cloud lately.

Why this matters
There's a battle brewing among the big vendors in data-center networking. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) have been deeply engaged; Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) and Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) have offered their own data-center packages, with partners providing the servers; and now Dell apparently wants a shot.

The popular rumor has been that Dell would acquire Brocade, although the price tag would have been in the billions. Dell's press release doesn't mention an acquisition price -- implying it's a small price compared with Dell's US$32 billion valuation -- but it does describe Force10 as "nearly a $200-million company, based on trailing 12 months revenue, with approximately 80 percent of its business in North America and operating in over 60 countries worldwide."

The deal would mean that Force10, which has been around since 1999, no longer has to answer awkward questions about its oft-delayed IPO.

It's unclear what Dell would do with the Turin piece of Force10.

For more
Force10's long history includes at least two IPO attempts and, of course, the 2009 merger with Turin. Let's stick to the more recent parts of the story:



— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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stuartb
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stuartb,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:34 PM
re: Dell to Acquire Force10


That's probably a good pick-up for Dell.  F10 has some very competitive Ethernet switches.  It will be interesting to see what Dell chooses to do, if anything, with the service provider products.

Pete Baldwin
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Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:34 PM
re: Dell to Acquire Force10


I'll admit I'm not that familiar with Dell, but I don't think of them as a T1/mobile backhaul kind of company ...


So, would the heritage Turin stuff be jettisoned?  I'm thinking yes, and it would still turn out cheaper (and maybe even easier) than if Dell had bought Brocade.


But I haven't delved into details yet - I basically woke up, saw this press release, typed stuff. Is there something about the Turin half that I'm not seeing through the pre-coffee fog?

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:33 PM
re: Dell to Acquire Force10


 


Craig,


Not only that but the last time I talked to Force10, the Turin piece of the business generated more revenue than the Force10 bit.  What I would expect to happen is that Dell would dump that business.  Might be an interesting pickup for Cyan since they are about 100 yards from Turin and it would help them bulk up a bit.


I can't imagine the bigger optical players having any interest in Turin at all.  


seven


 

stuartb
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stuartb,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:33 PM
re: Dell to Acquire Force10


"Is there something about the Turin half that I'm not seeing through the pre-coffee fog?"


No, that piece doesn't seem to be a good fit. Dell doesn't put a lot of emphasis on service providers from what I can see.

scottdTBR
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scottdTBR,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:32 PM
re: Dell to Acquire Force10


It will be interesting to see how this impacts the OEM relationships with Brocade and Juniper, particularly Juniper. Juniper is really counting on the Dell relationship to advance in the data center.

somedumbPM
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somedumbPM,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:31 PM
re: Dell to Acquire Force10


I see many colo spaces full of Dell servers with 2 Cisco 6500s in the center for aggregation and connectivity to the multi Tier 1 uplinks.  This seems to be a cookie cutter solution with a very expensive chocolate center for what operations are actually occurring. 


I always thought there would be some sort of reaction to Big C invading the server space from Dell.  -Just a thought.

mfg_boy
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mfg_boy,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:30 PM
re: Dell to Acquire Force10


Good stuff, good stuff, If I was a F10 employee I would be worried about my job Dell has laid off much of it's Round Rock operations not to mention F10 has office in Dallas. I'm curious to see what they do with head count?

Pete Baldwin
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Pete Baldwin,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:29 PM
re: Dell to Acquire Force10


WSJ says Dell is paying $700M cash. 


http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2011/07/20/dell-to-pay-700m-for-force10/


That's at least twice what I would have guessed.

CraigPlunkett
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CraigPlunkett,
User Rank: Moderator
12/5/2012 | 4:58:28 PM
re: Dell to Acquire Force10


F10 gives Dell a credible data center networking solution in house.  I know a few large enterprises giving F10 a shot at replacing core 6500 solutions.  Port density and price/performance far outstripped Cisco.  Organizational intertia and risk-aversion kept Cisco in.

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:58:27 PM
re: Dell to Acquire Force10


 


The Dallas team for F10 is whatever is left of Whiterock (which became part of Turin before Turin became F10).  Heck the stuff in CO is the old CACS stuff (again part of Turin).


seven


 


 

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