Ixia adds Net Optics to continue network smarts drive

Ixia buys Net Optics to increase network monitoring and assurance capabilities.

We’ve recently been tracking the series of acquisitions in the network management and optimisation spaces.

Just last week we drew out some of the implications of the deal for Infovista and I won’t go over all the bits of the jigsaw again but if you read that piece and subsequent links, you’ll see that there is a visible move in the market to create consolidated tools for network management and optimisation that.

One of the motives for this is to be able to enable network controllers that can act within the SDN, and to be able to analyse and respond to relevant network data to feed network management engines and controllers with good information. Additionally, there is a recognised need to be able to provide insight in an application-aware manner.

Yesterday, another deal was done to consolidate in this space as Ixia, which not long ago bought Anue, added Net Optics for $190 million. Net Optics, which was founded in 1996, provides “network visibility” solutions that provide load balancing, packet filtering and the aggregation of traffic coming from a network before it is passed to security monitoring and performance monitoring tools.

You can read the releases here , and a blog post from NetOptics here.

I think the interesting elements from those materials are these. From Ixia: “With the acquisition, Ixia will be able to leverage Net Optics’ active monitoring capabilities with their inline and bypass technologies, which go beyond passive network monitoring to deliver high availability of security and monitoring tools.”

From Net Optics’ Founder and Chairman, Eldad Matityahu: “The combined company will be able to offer customers seamless, end-to-end visibility across their entire network. Together, we will provide customers the strongest and broadest set of network visibility solutions to confront evolving network demands.”

So why does Ixia want to add these monitoring capablities to its current portfolio. A note from the company said, “With this acquisition, we will begin the next chapter in our visibility story – creating a comprehensive Extensible Visibility Architecture that combines carrier-grade scalability, high performance, inline security, Taps, network packet brokering, virtualisation, cloud and SDN.”

Broken down, what that means is the that company wants to provide solutions that can make sense of the massive amounts of network data coming off the network, and feed the information that network controllers require to enable them to make enlightened “decisions” as they then control and manage those networks and data centres.

Earlier this year, Ixia’s then CEO Vic Alston, who resigned last week after Ixia learnt he had mis-stated his education experience on his CV, said that his vision was to build Ixia’s portfolio to act as an “intelligent access layer” that enables operators to monitor and optimise their networks, and the applications and services that run over them.

Alston told The Mobile Network that the company is moving from being a provider of test solutions, into assessment and then into monitoring and assurance. Ixia said that its platform approach will allow operators to scale their probe-based monitoring systems by providing actionable data into those systems.

“We spent 10 years focussing on helping customers build networks out, with equipment manufacturers being 70-75% of the business, helping them with their product development life cycle. “In the last few years we have started to expand the offering. The rationale was that we built great products for testing technologies – take LTE as an example, in the process of building that we also built a lot of IP that can be leveraged after the deployment of LTE as well. So the idea was to start to move the business from test, into assessment and finally into monitoring and optimisation.”

Although Alston has moved on in strange circumstances, I think you can still view this acquisition in the light of that declared strategy.