Service Provider Cloud

Brocade Looks to Enterprise & Cloud With StackStorm Buy

StackStorm, which Brocade bought Monday, will be incorporated into a big network lifecycle management software suite to be announced in May.

StackStorm is -- or was -- a three-year-old startup focused on event-driven compute and storage management, with eight employees whom Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD) plans to move into its switching, routing and analytics product group. That group oversees the VDX switch and router product line. (See Brocade Buys StackStorm to Boost DevOps.)

The VDX line currently sells to midsized companies and smaller large enterprises, Jason Nolet, the senior vice president of Brocade's switching, routing and analytics product group, tells Light Reading. By improving automation, Brocade plans to extend the line's customer base to the largest enterprises as well as small cloud providers -- everybody but the biggest cloud providers, like Facebook , Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), which develop their own hardware and software.

The StackStorm technology will be included in a May product announcement that will include services for standing up a network fabric, inventory, auto-remediation and troubleshooting -- the part StackStorm contributes -- and configuration and management -- "the complete lifecycle of how you manage the network," Nolet says.

StackStorm's open source technology is "event driven." In simple terms, that means when something happens in infrastructure that StackStorm is monitoring, StackStorm takes action automatically. For example, the software supports "ChatOps" -- it can be programmed so that when a particular event occurs on the network, StackStorm automatically pops up a chat window between two or more operators to get them started on mitigating the problem. "It's simple, but it's a powerful tool because we don't have to be constantly scanning the network and logs," Nolet said.

StackStorm includes more than 1,800 separate "integration packs" that enable it to work with external technology, including Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Azure and Rackspace .

As an early startup, StackStorm had "very modest revenue," with only a few employees but a large open source community. Its "handful" of customers include large enterprises, primarily in the technology sector, Nolet said.

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StackStorm CEO and co-founder Evan Powell will not join Brocade as part of the transaction, Nolet said. "He's kind of a serial entrepreneur. We didn't have a role for him, nor did he really want to be a first-level product manager in Brocade," Nolet said. However, co-founder and CTO Dmitri Zimine will join Brocade.

The move to large enterprises puts Brocade in competition with Cisco (of course), as well as Arista Networks Inc. Indeed, in a post discussing the deal on the Brocade community site, Brocade's PG Menon, the senior director of technology and strategy, switching, routing and analytics, says StackStorm gives smaller enterprises and cloud platforms the ability to achieve the same automation as "cloud titans" such as Microsoft and Facebook. (Arista frequently refers to hypercloud providers as "cloud titans.") Hewlett Packard Enterprise is also wooing cloud providers and large enterprise data centers.

StackStorm "helps automate time consuming, error-prone human intervention for well-known IT alerts and events," Menon says. "Using StackStorm technology, Brocade customers will be able to bring DevOps methods to networking as well as experience many of the benefits of scale-out IT automation enjoyed by the cloud titans."

— Mitch Wagner, Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading.

mhhf1ve 4/4/2016 | 3:30:19 PM
Looks like a good acqui-hire A talented group with a community-backed codebase = a good target for acquisition.
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