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Brocade Buys Riverbed's SteelApp ADC Business

In a move designed to boost its network functions virtualization (NFV) strategy, Brocade has acquired Riverbed Technology's SteelApp virtual application delivery controller (ADC) product line.

Brocade, which announced the acquisition Thursday, said it will add the SteelApp product line to its software networking products for data centers and service providers, including virtual routing, firewall protection, and network analytics.

The deal follows Brocade's acquisition of virtual routing and firewall provider Vyatta in 2012, and Vistapointe, a supplier of virtual network visibility and analytics, last year.

Networking expert Tom Hollingsworth of Gestalt IT said Brocade's acquisition of Riverbed's ADC line has great potential for its NFV business.

"Brocade has long been interested in clearly delineating NFV from the greater SDN picture. By integrating the leading ADC on the market in a software-only offering, Brocade can bolster its data center options for existing and potential customers," he said in an email. "It also sets Brocade apart in the market for offering software appliance apps in an NFV form factor."

"Once the integration of Riverbed is complete, I would expect Brocade will consolidate its existing ADC offerings in favor of Riverbed and introduce some kind of controlling software for all its NFV offerings, perhaps even integrating it with the Vyatta controller," added Hollingsworth, a Network Computing contributor.

For Riverbed, the deal is another step in shedding its product lines and retooling its strategy. In October, the company sold its SteelStore data backup and protection product line to NetApp for $80 million. In December, it was acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo and Teachers' Private Capital, the private investor department of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.

"The decision to divest the SteelApp product line reflects Riverbed's ongoing commitment to focus on businesses and opportunities that leverage our core competencies," Riverbed Chairman and CEO Jerry Kennelly said in a prepared statement. "Riverbed is focused on providing solutions that provide CIOs unparalleled visibility, optimization, and control in the hybrid enterprise."

Riverbed was founded in 2002, shipping its first Steelhead WAN optimization product two years later. 

Terms of the Brocade acquisition were not disclosed. The deal is expected to close in Brocade's second quarter of fiscal 2015. Once completed, the SteelApp business unit will become part of Brocade's software business unit, which is led by Kelly Herrell, senior VP and general manager. The SteelApp development and field teams are expected to join Brocade.