NFV (Network functions virtualization)

Brocade Scoops Up Riverbed's SteelApp ADC

Brocade on Thursday announced intent to acquire Riverbed's SteelApp virtual application delivery controller (ADC) to beef up Brocade's NFV strategy.

In the all-cash transaction, expected to close in the second quarter, Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) will acquire the assets of the SteelApp business unit. The development and field personnel will join Brocade after closing. SteelApp has personnel in the San Francisco Bay Area; Regensburg, Germany; and Cambridge, UK. The companies aren't disclosing the terms of the acquisition, including the number of employees Brocade is picking up.

The acquisition puts Brocade in the leadership of a growing market -- SteelApp is the No. 3 virtual ADC vendor behind F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) and Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS), Brocade says. The market for virtual ADCs is growing 30% CAGR compared with only 1% for hardware ADCs.

Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD) is selling off the ADC business unit to focus on its core competencies, helping CIOs ensure necessary performance for on-premises, cloud and SaaS applications, Jerry Kennelly, Riverbed chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

The SteelApp line joins Brocade software networking products, including virtual routing, firewall, VPN, SDN controller and network visibility and analytics.

When the acquisition is done, SteelApp will join the Brocade Software Business Unit, led by Kelly Herrell, Brocade senior vice president and general manager, who was previously CEO of Vyatta, a virtual routing and firewall vendor that Brocade acquired in 2012. (See Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP.)

In addition to Vyatta, Brocade acquired Vistapointe in September for virtual network visibility and analytics. (See Brocade Buys Vyatta for Software Routing Smarts and Brocade Buys NFV Management Smarts.)

Brocade expects to sell the SteelApp product both as a standalone virtual ADC and as part of a line of Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) with Brocade's existing firewall, VPN and routing products.

"It gets us a key asset that arguably leads the NFV charge," says Ashwin Krishnan, Brocade head of product for the software networking business.

Brocade already has an ADC product, which it acquired with Foundry Networks in 2008, but the Foundry product is "arguably not a significant player in the market," says Krishnan. "This is a leapfrog for us where we get a much more advanced technology. Our intention is to consolidate our engineering, strategy, and direction behind a single product, which is SteelApp." (See Brocade to Acquire Foundry.)

The SteelApp Traffic Manager provides load balancing, application acceleration, web application firewall, and services controller. It also provides licensing management for bandwidth-based pricing without regard to the number of instances of the app running.

It's been a busy couple of weeks both for the ADC market and for Brocade.

Find out more about Network Functions Virtualization on Light Reading's NFV Channel.

This week, Avi Networks talked with Light Reading about its Cloud Application Delivery Platform (CADP), which takes an SDN approach to virtual ADCs for cloud and mobile apps. (See Avi Networks Takes ADCs to the Cloud.)

Last month, A10 Networks Inc. updated its ADC operating system to allow network operators to manage the software programmatically without having to resort to the command line, as well as integrating its Thunder ADC with the Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) ACI. (See A10 Goes Beyond the Command Line and A10 Integrates Thunder ADCs With Cisco ACI.)

This week, Brocade introduced an SDN-enabled spine switch, and last month it shipped its Vyatta Controller, an open source SDN controller based on OpenDaylight . Also, Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders talked with Herrell about Brocade's vision for the New IP. (See Brocade Intros New SDN-Enabled 'Spine' Switch and Brocade Ships Its Open SDN Controller.)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

Mitch Wagner 2/6/2015 | 5:17:28 PM

Brocade's acquisition of Riverbed's SteelApp business is an extension of what Brocade is doing with its Vyatta Controller software and virtual router -- they're "software that allows networking functionality to be migrated to commodity hardware," notes SeekingAlpha in an email bulletin. 

SeekingAlpha also has pointers to a few other interesting tidbits about the sale:

  • JPMorgan says SteelApp had $55 million 2014 revenue.
  • Virtual ADCs were a bright spot in an otherwise dull market. Virtual ADC appliances grew 17% quarter-over-quarter in Dell'Oro Group's most recent report, issued in December. That's compared with 1% growth for the physical ADC appliance market. Brocade estimated the CAGR for virtual ADCs at 30%.
  • F5, which will be Brocade's main virtual ADC competitor, said on its first-quarter earnings call that it saw virtual ADCs grow 44% year-over-year 
Steve Saunders 2/6/2015 | 1:53:21 PM
Re: spikey  I was hoping for frond UPS's and sprig racks 
Mitch Wagner 2/6/2015 | 1:52:05 PM
Re: spikey Well, there's the whole idea of east/west north/south traffic, which completely leaves out non-Euclidian dimensions. :)
Steve Saunders 2/6/2015 | 12:57:35 PM
Re: spikey i like this term. 

Are there other organic data center terms i haven't heard of? 

Mitch Wagner 2/6/2015 | 10:41:22 AM
Re: spikey Steve - It's a central switch in a datacenter. Distinguished primarily from a leaf switch, which sits at the top of a rack of servers and/or storage. 
Steve Saunders 2/6/2015 | 9:29:13 AM
spikey What is a spine switch?
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