Net Management Shake-up: CA Acquires NetQoS

Embraces flow-based network performance management

Just when it was looking things had quieted down on the network management acquisition/consolidation front, CA dropped a bombshell today by announcing their intent to acquire NetQoS in an all-cash $200 million deal. This year has seen plenty of small deals, mostly driven by gap filling and bargain shopping among smaller players feeling the stress of a down economy, but this acquisition is anything but small-time. While the price does not approach the monetary size of some transactions of the past few years, the significance is that CA becomes the first among the big four/five management players (others being IBM, HP, plus BMC or EMC or both depending on how you like to call it) to embrace flow-based, application aware network performance management. CA has a few overlaps to clean up here, but they are minor. The value that NetQoS will bring to CA in terms of market leadership in NetFlow solutions as well as NetQoS’s broader capabilities for response time monitoring and packet-based monitoring is substantial compared to what CA has with existing products and technology. There are four areas that stand out in terms of big value to CA: 1. Filling out their network management product lines by adding app-aware network performance and response time monitoring (as well as packet-based instrumentation via the TradeMonitor product) 2. Complementing the CA Wily APM products with another set of application performance data sources 3. Additional arrows in their virtualization and cloud quiver via better WAN performance data, intra-VM performance monitoring, and collective ongoing alliance relations with VMware 4. Complementary technology and data sources for security solutions, via usage and activity records as well as anomaly detection technology CA stands to benefit in other ways as well. First, NetQoS brings with them a very strong technology and field marketing/sales relationship with Cisco Systems, plus strength in communications service provider (CSP) solutions. Left out of the party will likely be EMC, who recently established a technology alliance with NetQoS to cover app-aware network performance management vis-a-vis their Ionix portfolio. Might this spark another round of consolidation, as other big four/five players race to snatch up flow-based management technology providers? Only time will answer that for certain, but this acquisition is sure to rattle at least a few cages in the meantime.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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