Network Infrastructure

M&A Continues in Network Performance Space

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  December 10, 2012

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.

The network performance space has seen a fair amount of M&A action recently, with NetScout Systems, Inc. being the latest to make a move on this front.

NetScout in late October announced it had purchased ONPATH Technologies (News - Alert). The value of the deal, completed Oct. 1, was not disclosed.

According to a statement issued by the company, “NetScout will leverage ONPATH’S advanced technology to accelerate the development of an extensible, modular, chassis-based switching product portfolio to support high-density 10, 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. In addition, NetScout (News - Alert) will integrate this technology into its packet flow switch solution to deliver a switch portfolio that will be easier to integrate and simpler to manage, enabling organizations to address deployment requirements to improve the efficiency, control and distribution of network traffic flows and reduce the overall total cost of ownership for network-based monitoring deployments.”

The company expects to deliver integrated products by the end of this year or early next year.

Twenty-eight-year-old NetScout sells packet-flow solutions that help companies monitor and ensure the quality of networks and applications. Its offerings include nGenius and Sniffer, which are used by more than 20,000 of the world’s largest enterprises, government agencies, and more than 148 service providers.

Through the deal, NetScout got ONPATH’s test automation business, which had sold large switching/layer 1 connectivity to leading network equipment manufacturers, and ONPATH’s network monitoring switch business. ONPATH also has an extremely large scale solution to manage all of these switches, Steve Shalita, vice president of marketing for NetScout, told INTERNET TELEPHONY. Hundreds of thousands of ports can be managed in a single environment using the ONPATH technology, he said, adding “We see that also as being very synergistic.”

While the NetScout and ONPATH switching solutions address some of the same requirements, Shalita explained that the deal fills what had been a gap in NetScout’s product line. NetScout’s product portfolio to date had included a fixed box that was not field changeable, meaning it had a lifecycle in the two- to three-year range, he said. The ONPATH product on this front, meanwhile, is built based on a modular chassis architecture, which means new capacity and technologies can be added in the field as needed with the insertion of new blades. That, Shalita said, lengthens the product lifecycle to five to seven years and provides customers with a great deal more flexibility.

NetScout is tripling its investment in the network switch monitoring space, Shalita added.

This product category, which Gartner (News - Alert) refers to as the packet broker market, addresses performance management, monitoring, security, and basically how to get packet-flow information to a wide range of solutions in the network.

That arena has seen a lot of interest and acquisitions recently. Ixia announced in May the acquisition of Anue Systems. In June, VSS Monitoring (News - Alert) was acquired by Danaher Corp., having joined Danaher as a standalone business within the Communications Group. Around that same time, Gigamon (News - Alert) was preparing for an IPO.

The ONPATH acquisition comes a year after NetScout revealed it had acquired Simena LLC.

Simena had been known for its low-latency IP packet flow-based network monitoring switching technology. That enables enterprises and services providers to manage and analyze network traffic for data, voice, video and cybersecurity deployments.

This earlier deal allowed NetScout to help its customers simplify, consolidate and improve scale for their network monitoring architectures, Shalita told INTERNET TELEPHONY at the time. 

“These companies can now look to a single vendor to provide them a complete monitoring solution from the physical network link aggregation, to the highly scalable and comprehensive visualization and reporting for managing application and network performance and the user experience for business services and unified communications environments,” Shalita said.

Edited by Braden Becker