Technology vendors often partner to provide IT managers with more complete product offerings. Sometimes the partnership turns into an acquisition and customers can later benefit from full product integration between two tools in their network optimization arsenal.Last week Network General upped its network and application traffic analysis capabilities with the acquisition of Fidelia, a small software maker that focuses its NetVigil technology on grouping the relationships among applications, servers and network devices making up a business service. The buy for Network General was a smart move, considering competition among the device-centric network management players is heating up.Companies such as Network Instruments, Network Physics and NetScout, among others, provide network-centric monitoring and management tools, but as the large vendors continue to acquire the competition, these smaller vendors also need to up the ante.With its Fidelia buy, Network General can quickly expand its products set, which have already been exploring application performance, to also monitor for customers the performance of the services running on the network."Network General's acquisition of Fidelia was a brilliant stroke for both companies. Network General gets the technology it needs to broaden its capabilities, and Fidelia gets a home for its rich technology," says Dennis Drogseth, a vice president with research firm Enterprise Management Associates.He points out that Fidelia was a small company with few employees, which often deters companies to buy the product, despite its capabilities. Network General being more established and known for its Sniffer tools can further foster the development and take advantage of NetVigil capabilities in its own products.Separately, at the RSA Conference this week network anomaly detection software maker Q1 Labs will be partnering with Packeteer to integrate Q1's QRadar security technology with Packeteer's PacketShaper appliances."Anything that gives me greater visibility is essential to the task of managing my network in a secure fashion," said Michael Ables, senior network systems analyst at Tarleton State University, in a press release. "Being able to integrate the application knowledge I get from my PacketShaper deployment with the security analytics I get from QRadar provides me with that converged view of the network and its security."