Reactions to Brocade-Foundry deal

* Industry watchers weigh in on what Brocade’s acquisition of Foundry means

As the impact of the news this week that Brocade Communications Systems will be acquiring Foundry Networks sank in, it drew a wide range of reactions - even just at Network World.

Cisco Subnet blogger Brad Reese keyed in on one observation – that in the conference call discussing the acquisition, Foundry CEO Bobby Johnson said that his role in the new company is still “undefined,” beyond just supporting Brocade CEO Mike Klayko. I don’t know if the uncertainty around Johnson’s role is having quite the negative impact that Reese is suggesting, but I agree that it would be to Brocade’s benefit to retain him if possible.

CCIE and blogger Michael Morris tried to figure out the motivation behind the move, and he settled on Fibre Channel over Ethernet, or FCoE. Morris says the acquisition creates a viable alternative to what Cisco is selling:

“So, this should be an interesting play. If I am going to update my [data center] LAN environment with FCoE I have to use Cisco's new - and, um, pricey - Nexus line anyway. That's a change in architecture, not a normal evolution of the 6500 or 4500 series. So, if the cost is low enough for Brocade/Foundry FCoE and I already have a Brocade SAN, do I make the jump to Brocade? Might be worth the look.”

Along the same lines, in Jon Brodkin’s story, Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Bob Laliberte says Foundry gives Brocade “instant credibility in the IP space.”

Another CCIE and blogger, Mark Lewis, figures that Brocade and Foundry both “have gazed into the future, not liked what they have seen, and jumped into each other's arms out of fright!”

Foundry, he says, fears new competition from Juniper Networks, while Brocade fears Cisco and its Nexus 7000. But Lewis couldn’t decide whether this was a good move for the companies’ survival or a bad one.

In Jim Duffy’s story, he notes that Cisco is unlikely to be affected greatly by the joining of these two companies, but the deal puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the vendors in the Ethernet switching market to keep up. If Cisco has Nexus, and Brocade and Foundry have their approach to data center networking, what do the other vendors have?

Many industry watchers, I think, see the acquisition as interesting, to say the least. It’s one of those announcements where you want to see where they take it from here.

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