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M&A: GCI, Brocade, SolarWinds Make Strategic Buys

February 16, 2015 - News
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**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q4 2014.**

By Perry Vandell

With the wants and needs of the IT industry constantly evolving, companies often divert their resources to researching new solutions or buying companies that have already found them. In this case, it’s the latter.

Tech distributor Global Convergence Inc. is acquiring Radiant Networks to enhance its enterprise mobility service offerings that channel partners can sell. Many companies have yet to offer these services, and GCI leadership believes the acquisition will give it and its partners a competitive advantage.

“Only 25 percent of today's solution providers are offering advanced enterprise mobility solutions like identity and asset management (IAM) systems, despite escalating regulatory and compliance requirements," said Jim Bradshaw, GCI CEO and board chairman. “This creates a tremendous opportunity for our partners and we're placing a heavy focus around the technologies, tools and services that will give them a competitive advantage."

Gartner estimates that by 2017, three-quarters (75 percent) of mobile security breaches will result from “mobile application misconfiguration." GCI argues that its investment in enterprise mobility gives its partners the tools they need to preemptively address these concerns. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Next on the list of acquisitions is Brocade, which said it intends to buy Riverbed Technology’s SteelApp product line. SteelApp is an Application Delivery Controller (ADC) designed to control application traffic, delivering applications to users from the cloud or a data center. Brocade says the SteelApp acquisition will give its data center and service-provider customers more advanced solutions, such as virtualized network software.

“… this acquisition strengthens Brocade's unique position as the adoption of software-centric networking is accelerating," Brocade CEO Lloyd Carney said. “We are thrilled to add SteelApp's widely-adopted solution to our portfolio and will invest our existing ADC resources to aggressively advance the road map and extend it into our open Vyatta Platform offering for NFV and SDN."

Brocade did not disclose the terms of the acquisition but expects to close the deal in its second fiscal quarter of 2015.

And finally, SolarWinds is acquiring cloud monitoring company Librato for $40 million. With this purchase, SolarWinds says it can extend performance management capabilities from on-premises IT infrastructure to cloud-based applications.

"As we evaluate the growth of the business-critical application, we see three 'horizons' of application deployment that require robust performance management — on-premise[s] IT, IT as a service, and IT in the cloud," SolarWinds President and CEO Kevin Thompson said. "We expect that the requirement to manage existing on-premise[s] infrastructure will continue, but will now be coupled with the need to manage the performance of infrastructure and applications either fully or partially deployed in private and public clouds."

SolarWinds works with a variety of partners, from Cisco VARs to MSPs.

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